Eight dead in Sinai helicopter crash

The Multinational Observer Force in Egyptian Sinai has just over 1,100 soldiers of different nationalities.

Eight members of the Multinational Observer Force (FMO) in the Egyptian Sinai died in the crash of their helicopter on Thursday, November 12, according to a statement from this force. They are six Americans, a French and a Czech.

An American member of the force responsible for monitoring the peace between Israel and Egypt survived the crash. He was evacuated for treatment, according to the press release which specifies that the accident took place during a “Routine mission near Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt”.

“The FMO will conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the accident”, continues the press release before adding that“At this stage, there is no information indicating that the crash was not an accident”. FMO also mentions “Cooperation efforts between Egypt and Israel” triggered as a result of this crash.

The Israeli army has “Offered to provide immediate medical assistance”, said spokesperson Jonathan Conricus. An army helicopter “With elite soldiers specializing in rescue was dispatched to Ramon airport (southern Israel)”, he added.

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1,100 soldiers from different countries

In 1982, three years after the signing of their peace treaty and after the UN announced that it would not provide peacekeepers for Sinai, Egypt and Israel had established this Multinational Force and Observers – MFO) as an independent international peacekeeping organization.

It currently has just over 1,100 troops from different countries – including Australia, the United States, Canada and France.

Egyptian Sinai, a vast territory of around 60,000 kmĀ², had been the scene of clashes between Israel and Egypt before the two countries signed a peace agreement in 1979.

Today, various armed groups are rife in the peninsula, including the local branch of the jihadist organization Islamic State (IS). Egyptian security forces are fighting an Islamist insurgency that has hardened in the northeast of this region.

In February 2018, the Egyptian authorities launched a large-scale operation against Islamist militants, mainly in northern Sinai, not far from Israel and the Gaza Strip. Since the start of this operation, 930 suspected Islamist fighters have been killed along with dozens of security personnel, according to the Egyptian army.

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The World with AFP


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