Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Blast rocks Egypt-Israel pipeline

This file photo dated April 27 shows a previous bomb attack on the Egyptian pipeline in the northern Sinai peninsula

Source: Press TV

Unidentified assailants have blown up an Egyptian pipeline, pumping natural gas to Israel and Jordan for the fourth time since the country's revolution in February 2011.

The explosion occurred in the early hours of Tuesday in the city of El-Arish in the northern part of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, cutting gas flow to Israel, the Associated Press reported.

The Tuesday attack is the second such assault on the pipeline over the past eight days and the fourth since an 18-day uprising toppled former President Hosni Mubarak's regime on February 11.

The attackers ordered the guards on duty to leave and then blew up the terminal, starting a huge fire that sent flames shooting into the air that lit up the night sky, according to officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Flames of the fire could be seen from 15 kilometers, the officials said, adding that there were no casualties.

The location of the Tuesday attack is at least one kilometer away from that of the third attack, which occurred on June 4 and seven kilometers away from an earlier offensive on February 7.

No one claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack but disgruntled Bedouin tribesmen in the area have been blamed for attacking the pipeline in the past.

Egypt provides up to 45 percent of Israel's gas imports according to the terms of a 20-year contract signed in 2005.

The exports have long been a controversial issue in Egypt, as Hosni Mubarak's regime was accused of selling gas to Israel too cheaply.

According to a recent poll conducted by Synovate research group, 91 percent of the Egyptian population opposes stronger bilateral ties with Israel.

Following an April attack, the Egyptian authorities stepped up security measures along the 192-kilometer (119-mile) pipeline.

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