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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

US admits it plans to withdraw Sinai peacekeepers

Security forces in North Sinai
Security forces in North Sinai
Reuters

The Pentagon has confirmed reports it plans to cut the number of US peacekeeping troops in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, partly because of the growing threat from the Islamic State group, an official said Tuesday.

About 700 US troops participate in a UN operation established after Israel and Egypt signed a 1979 peace deal and agreed for a Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) mission to monitor compliance.

The mission has historically been somewhat low-key, but in recent months attacks from IS jihadists have put forces on a state of constant high alert.

In September for instance, a roadside bombing injured six peacekeepers including four Americans.
Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said the Pentagon remains "fully committed" to the MFO mission but wants to use drones and other high-tech tools to assume some of the riskier work. READ MORE