International

Sinai peacekeepers killed in helicopter crash, Israeli sources say

Eight members of a peacekeeping force in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula have been killed in a helicopter crash.

The Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) said nine people were on board the aircraft when it came down during a routine mission near Sharm el-Sheikh.

Six Americans were killed, along with a French national and a Czech national, it added. A seventh American survived and was medically evacuated.

Israel’s military said it had offered to help rescue injured from the scene.

The Associated Press cited Israeli and Egyptian officials as saying the American survivor was airlifted to an Israeli hospital.

The MFO said it would conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the crash.

“At this point, there is no information to indicate the crash was anything except an accident,” it added.

“We greatly appreciate the co-operation and support of Egypt and Israel in the recovery effort.”

Jihadist militants, some linked to the Islamic State group, are active in the Sinai peninsula. They have killed hundreds of Egyptian security personnel and civilians in attacks in recent years.

The MFO is an independent force formed to monitor the borders between Egypt and Israel following a 1979 peace accord between the two countries.

It currently consists of 1,154 military personnel from 13 countries. The largest contingents are from the US, Colombia, Fiji and France.

There are 452 US members, some of whom occupy key leadership positions.

In 2007, eight French personnel and one Canadian died when a French military aircraft belonging to the MFO crashed shortly after take-off in northern Sinai.