On Thursday a multinational peacekeeping force operating in Egypt suffered disaster when a Black Hawk helicopter went down in the Sinai Peninsula.
In total eight were killed, including six Americans, one French and one Czech national, according to a military coalition statement.
Acting US Defense Secretary Christopher Miller also confirmed the deaths of the Americans and said the Defense Department is “saddened” by their loss.
One American reportedly survived the crash and was evacuated to an Israeli hospital for treatment, according to international reports.
“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,” reads a statement from MFO. “We are deeply saddened to report that eight uniformed MFO members were killed; six U.S. citizens, one French, and one Czech. One U.S. MFO Member survived and was medically evacuated. Names are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.”
The MFO has been deployed in Sinai since the 1980s in order to monitor Egypt’s 1979 peace deal with Israel.
Subsequent statements out of the Czech Defense Ministry, which was closely involved in the peacekeeping operations, described the deadly crash as “caused by technical issues” which happened in the area of Sharm el-Sheikh.
The restive Sinai region has in the past years seen a significant uptick in terrorist activity, including the presence of ISIS, given it is easy to hide deep in the mountainous terrain and within difficult to access areas for the Egyptian military.
The US military upped its presence in coordination with Egypt after a string of deadly ISIS terror attacks in 2016 and after, and has tried to rely on advanced technology to monitor the vast wilderness terrain which some reports have called “lawless”.