Six American soldiers were reportedly killed when a US Black Hawk military helicopter crashed off Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula early on Thursday due to a suspected mechanical failure.

The troops were said to be members of a peacekeeping mission in Egypt and were among the eight people who died in the incident, according to the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) — an international peacekeeping force overseeing the terms of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

One American is said to have survived the crash and was taken on airlifted to an Israeli hospital.

“During a routine mission in the vicinity of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, nine members of the MFO were involved in a helicopter crash,” the MFO said in a statement.

“We are deeply saddened to report that eight uniformed MFO members were killed; six US citizens, one French, and one Czech. One US MFO Member survived and was medically evacuated. Names are being withheld pending notification of next of kin,” it added.

Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller confirmed that those reportedly killed were indeed service members.

“We are saddened by the loss of 6 US and 2 partner nation service members in a helicopter crash in the Sinai Peninsula operating with the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO),” Miller said.

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“Yesterday we recognized the sacrifice of millions who have defended our nation, and today we are reminded of the last full measure our warriors may pay for their service. I extend @DeptofDefense‘s condolences to the families, friends, and teammates of these service members,” he added.

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Investigation underway

A mechanical failure is suspected to have caused the crash according to multiple reports and a separate report noted that there is “ zero indication” of malicious activity involved in the incident despite the presence of Islamic State group in the area.

“The MFO will conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the accident,” the UN peacekeeping mission said.

“At this point, there is no information to indicate the crash was anything except an accident. We greatly appreciate the cooperation and support of Egypt and Israel in the recovery effort,” it added.

To date, there are at least 30 to 400 American troops deployed in Sinai as part of a United Nation peacekeeping mission that dates back to a peace deal signed by Israel and Egypt in 1979.

Thirteen countries send troops to the MFO with the US making up the bulk of the contingency.

In February, as part of President Donald Trump’s promise to bring home American troops, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told Congress that the US “may soon prepare” to withdraw its troops from this mission noting that the agency needs to review whether the Sinai mission “is still a valid mission” for US forces.

Among the missions of the MFO is to monitor the troops presence along the border and ensure freedom of navigation through the Strait of Tiran between Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and Saudi Arabia — an important passage for ships trying to reach Israel and Jordan.

The post Six Americans Reportedly Killed In Military Helicopter Crash In Egypt appeared first on The Scoop.

Source: The Scoop

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