Five Americans are killed in helicopter crash in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula while serving with multi-national peacekeeping force
- Five US nationals were among seven killed, alongside French and Czech citizens
- Their peacekeeping helicopter crashed in the desert of the Sinai peninsula
- An Israeli source said they were part of the Multinational Force and Observers
Five Americans were killed in a helicopter crash today while serving with a peacekeeping force in Egypt.
The five US nationals were among seven victims of the air disaster in Egypt’s Sinai desert which also killed a French national and a Czech citizen.
An Israeli source said the crash involved the Multinational Force and Observers, a peacekeeping force co-founded by Israel in 1979 when it signed a peace deal with Egypt.
The cause of the crash is not yet clear.
Five Americans were killed in a helicopter crash today in the Egyptian desert (file photo) while serving with a peacekeeping force
Around 450 US troops are deployed in the region under the auspices of the MFO, which was created after the Carter administration helped to broker the peace treaty in 1979.
However, a report in May 2020 said that Donald Trump’s then-defense secretary Mark Esper was looking to withdraw US troops from the peninsula.
The Wall Street Journal report said that officials in the State Department and the Israeli government were opposed to the withdrawal.
The US also pledges to provide one-third of the MFO’s annual operating expenses, the organisation says.
The MFO’s total contingent of around 1,150 military personnel also includes 275 from Colombia, 55 from Canada and dozens from European countries including Italy and the Czech Republic.
In 2015, six of the peacekeepers were wounded by a roadside bomb, and some governments have previously voiced fears about remote and vulnerable outposts.
Small-scale attacks sometimes occur in the north of the peninsula, and Israel has previously warned that removing MFO troops would make insurgents ‘more jihadi’.
The MFO was created to monitor the demilitarisation of Sinai after the historic peace deal was signed at Camp David 41 years ago.
Egypt’s then-president Anwar Sadat, who signed the accords, was assassinated in 1981 by radicals opposed to the deal.