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Airborne engineers based at Rock Barracks at Woodbridge have been presented with the Multinational Force and Observers Medal in recognition of their construction work on a peacekeeping mission in the Sinai Peninsula.

Major Dave Stead, who led the deployment, was awarded a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service.

He said: “This deployment was three months of hard work in arduous conditions that tested all of our engineering skills, requiring real flexibility, initiative and creativity.

The attackers reportedly raised al Qaeda's black banner over the base before a stand-down was negotiated.

Several MFO peacekeepers have also been kidnapped and released in the past 12 months.

The medal that has been awarded to 9 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers Airborne engineers - the Multinational Force and Observers Medal in recognition of their construction work on a peacekeeping mission in the Sinai Peninsula.

Picture: CORPORAL DEK TAYLOR/MOD CROWNThe troops were presented with the MFO Medal by Brigadier John Ridge, Commander of 8 Engineer Brigade, at a parade at Rock Barracks.

“The camps in the Sinai were designed and built in the late 1970s and we updated the infrastructure to enable the MFO to carry out its challenging mission in a difficult part of the world.

I am hugely proud to have commanded a fantastic bunch of men and women who did fantastic work in the Sinai.”The MFO was created by an agreement between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the State of Israel to monitor the terms of the 1979 Treaty of the Peace and continues to make an important contribution to peace and stability in the region.

"It would be no exaggeration to say the MFO faced operational challenges this past year that it had not encountered in its previous thirty years of existence.", stated the organisation's 2012 Annual Report.

Egyptian troops and helicopter gunships began a large-scale operation against militants in the Sinai last week, claiming at the weekend to have seized hundreds of prisoners and large quantities of weaponry.

Multi-national Force of Observers (MFO) soldiers, of whom almost 700 are American and others come from countries including France, Italy, Australia and Canada, cannot leave their bases without wearing body armour, while those in Al Gora, the biggest camp, are starting to dig their own wells for water so as not to have to rely on local supplies.