NM Guard troops come under attack in Egypt

By CHARLES D. BRUNT | Albuquerque Journal, N.M. | Published: September 15, 2012

Unrest in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula spilled over to members of the New Mexico National Guard on Friday when protesters attempted to enter the headquarters of the Multinational Force and Observers, Guard officials and Gov. Susana Martinez said.

The Multinational Force and Observers is an international peacekeeping force overseeing the terms of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

The attack by “violent and armed protestors” was repelled, a joint statement by Martinez and New Mexico National Guard adjutant general Brig. Gen. Andrew Salas said, and no injuries among U.S. and coalition forces were reported.

About 450 state Guard soldiers have deployed to the Sinai since January on a yearlong peacekeeping mission.

“Early reports from the unit indicate that the attack was beaten back, and though a few coalition troops from other countries sustained injuries, we have been told that no U.S. soldiers were injured,” the statement said. “…We will continue to monitor the situation in northern Egypt and will communicate with the families of our Soldiers about further developments as they become available to us.”

About 400 Guardsmen with 1st Battalion, 200th Infantry Division deployed to the region in January. That deployment includes personnel from the Farmington-based 919th Military Police Company. The 1/200th includes units based in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and Las Cruces.

They were joined in July by 47 soldiers with the Springer-based 615th Combat Support Battalion to provide logistical support for other U.S. troops. The 615th provides medical, aviation, finance, postal and explosive ordnance disposal services.

All state Guard units are due back home in the first quarter of 2013.


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