A helicopter with a U.S.-led Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in the Egyptian Sinai has crashed, killing eight members of the peacekeeper force, an Israeli source said on Thursday.
Those killed were six Americans, a French national and a Czech national, all of them military service members, the source added.
The MFO office in Israel issued this statement:
“During a routine mission in the vicinity of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, nine members of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) were involved in a helicopter crash.
“We are deeply saddened to report that eight uniformed MFO members were killed: six U.S. citizens, one French, and one Czech.”
The MFO, an internationally recognized observer mission, said one U.S. member survived.
The victims’ names are being withheld while their families are informed. The U.S. Department of Defense did not yet comment but directed NBC News to the MFO statement.
The MFO said, “at this point, there is no information to indicate the crash was anything except an accident.”
The MFO was installed to monitor the demilitarisation of the Sinai under the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace accord.
According to its website, the MFO has 1,154 military personnel from the U.S. and 12 other countries covering an area of more than 10,000 square kilometres (3,860 square miles) in the Sinai.