Sinai Observation Mission Helicopter Crash

(B2) The Multinational Force of Observers (MFO) responsible for ensuring the proper application of the peace agreements between Egypt and Israel in the Sinai, has just suffered a fatal accident. A French officer died

Eight soldiers on board

A US helicopter Black Hawk which was carrying out a routine flight and transporting eight soldiers crashed in the Sinai Peninsula near the island of Tyrant in the Red Sea.

Seven soldiers died, including a Frenchman (Lieutenant-Colonel Sébastien Botta from CDAOA, the Air Defense and Air Operations Command), a Czech (Sergeant Major Michaela Tichá, 27) and five Americans.

An American was recovered after the crash, according to the MFO. He is in critical condition.

Ongoing investigation

The cause of the accident has yet to be determined. An investigation is underway. According to'czech army, it could be a " technical defect ».

French Chief of Staff François Lecointre sent his condolences.

Just like the main authorities concerned such as French President Emmanuel Macron or US President-elect Joe Biden.

A multinational force established in 1982

The Multinational Force on Observers (MFO) was created after the Camp David Peace Agreement between Egypt and Israel in 1978, by a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries in August 1981, after the return of Sinai to Egypt, and has been operational since April 1982. The blockage within the UN Security Council at the time (by the USSR in particular) to validating a blue helmets mission had required an "alternative" solution », with a multinational observation force.

Ensure peace agreements

It uses two bases in the Sinai region: the southern base in Sharm el-Sheikh, where the mission's headquarters are located, and the northern forward base in El Gorah, not far from Gaza. Its objective is from checkpoints, patrol and observation activities along the borders of Egypt and Israel and in the territory of Sinai, to ensure the maintenance of peace in the four areas of the peace agreement such as ensuring free navigation through the Strait of Tiran.

A contingent from three countries

It is composed (according to the last MFO count) of just over 1100 soldiers from 13 countries, mainly Americans: 452 USA, 275 Colombians, 55 Canadians, 41 Uruguayans. There are also 78 Italians, 18 Czechs, 3 Norwegians, 2 British and 1 French, as well as 170 soldiers from Fiji, 30 New Zealanders, 27 Australians, 2 Japanese.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

NB: the names of the soldiers killed are indicated according to official information.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).