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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 May 2007, 13:42 GMT 14:42 UK
Egypt observers killed in crash
Map of Egypt
Nine soldiers were killed when a plane belonging to a multi-national peacekeeping force crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, officials said.

Eight French soldiers and one Canadian died when the French military aircraft came down shortly after take-off.

The plane was travelling from the northern Sinai airport of Al-Gurah towards St Catherine, further south.

The Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) is an independent peacekeeping force, stationed in Sinai since 1982.

It monitors the 1979 Egypt-Israeli peace deal.

The approximately 2,000-strong military force is made up of troops from 11 countries, including a large US contingent. It is based in two camps in the Sinai peninsula.

The crash occurred in clear weather at about 0900 local time (0600 GMT), in the remote, mountainous Sinai region, police said.

"The nine military personnel on board, eight French and one Canadian, all died in this tragic accident," France's Ministry of Defence said in a statement, confirming earlier reports from Egyptian officials.

The crew were on a training mission, an MFO spokesman said.

French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie praised the work of French forces in the region and sent her condolences to the families of the victims, the statement said.

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