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Helicopter Crash Kills 7 Peacekeepers From Multinational Force in Sinai


JERUSALEM — A helicopter carrying members of a multinational peacekeeping force crashed on Thursday near Sharm el Sheikh in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, killing five Americans, a French citizen and a Czech citizen.

The peacekeeping force, Multinational Force and Observers, said that eight of its members were involved in the crash and that seven had died. At this point, there is no information to indicate the crash was anything except an accident, the force said in a state

The Multinational Force and Observers is a peacekeeping force supervising the implementation of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. It consists of 1,154 troops from 13 countries including Australia, Britain, Fiji, the United States and Uruguay.

The force was born in 1981 out of the inability of the Security Council to obtain approval for the placement of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Sinai — pushing Israel and Egypt to negotiate the agreement that established the M.F.O.

The Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, Israel, was preparing to receive one wounded American on Thursday, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

The Israeli military said it had scrambled a helicopter with members of its elite 669 rescue unit on board to help evacuate the wounded and was waiting on the tarmac at Ramon Airport, near Eilat, but it said the rescue mission was called off after the military was told it would not be needed.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from Washington.

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