Eight peacekeepers, including six Americans, were killed in a helicopter crash during a routine mission in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, the international force that monitors the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement said Thursday. A ninth peacekeeper, also American, was badly injured, per the AP. The Multinational Force and Observers said a French peacekeeper and Czech member of the force were also killed. It didn't release the names of the dead, pending notification of kin. The MFO said the helicopter crashed near the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh on the Red Sea, and that an investigation was underway. It didn't give a precise location or say whether the helicopter fell on land or crashed into the sea. But an Egyptian official speaking on condition of anonymity said the helicopter crashed over Red Sea waters outside Egypt's territorial boundaries.
Islamic militant groups and a regional affiliate of the Islamic State group are known to be active in Sinai. But the MFO said there were no signs of an attack. "At this point, there is no information to indicate the crash was anything except an accident," it said. An Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity said the injured peacekeeper was airlifted by the peacekeeping force to the Israeli border city of Eilat and flown to an Israeli hospital from there. The Czech Republic's military confirmed a Czech died when the Black Hawk crashed owing to a technical malfunction. It added that the survivor is in critical condition. The chief of the Czech army's general staff, Gen. Ales Opata, expressed his condolences and identified the victim in a Facebook post as Sgt. Maj. Michaela Ticha. Thirteen countries contribute troops to the MFO, with the US making up the largest contingent.
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