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5 Minnesota Guard Members Injured In Afghanistan

LITCHFIELD, Minn. (WCCO) — Five soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard were injured during a suicide bombing attack in Afghanistan on Monday.

The soldiers are members of the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company, based in Litchfield.

One Minnesotan soldier is recovering at a medical center in Germany, while the other four are recovering in Afghanistan. A soldier from California was killed in the attack.

District officials say an insurgent drove a truck filled with explosives to the main gate of the Forward Operating Base Pasab in the Zharay district of Kandahar province. The insurgent detonated the explosives before a minivan containing eight gunmen sped to the gate and jumped out.

All of the insurgents were killed by coalition forces.

Rabbi Alexander Davis of Beth El Synagogue says he learned of the incident soon after it happened.

"We have the sense that these guys are really in a dangerous position. The work they're doing is incredibly important but risky," Rabbi Davis said. "In a sense, it didn't come as a surprise, but sill disturbing."

The 349th is one of three units that the synagogue supports with its adoption initiative.

"Sending care packages and, of course, always having these men and women from Minnesota in our thoughts and our prayers," he said.

The congregation was notified and invited to say individual prayers. Every Saturday, they pray for the unit, but there will be special prayers this Sabbath for the wounded.

"We will recite the names of those injured and ask God to send them 'refuah shlema,' to send them a full healing," Rabbi Davis said. "It will be heartfelt prayer."

The 349th is responsible for clearing roads of improvised explosion devices, protection for troops on patrol and for those leaving the country for good.

The names of the injured have not been released.

This is the first major incident to this unit of 95 people, which was first deployed in July 2013.

The Minnesota National Guard was also instrumental in ensuring the safety of withdrawing troops from Iraq in 2011.

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