Last Updated: Mon Mar 05, 2012 23:52 pm (KSA) 20:52 pm (GMT)

Twin blast hit Egyptian gas pipeline serving Jordan, Israel

The pipeline, which supplies gas through Sinai and on to Jordan and Israel, had already been attacked 12 times in past year. (Reuters)
The pipeline, which supplies gas through Sinai and on to Jordan and Israel, had already been attacked 12 times in past year. (Reuters)

An Egyptian pipeline carrying gas to Israel and Jordan was bombed on Monday, the 13th such attack since President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in 2011, security officials said.

Six gunmen in an unmarked vehicle set explosives in two different parts of the pipeline, about 15 meters (yards) apart, one official told AFP.

Witnesses said they heard two separate explosions, causing flames to shoot 20 meters (65 feet) into the air in the Al-Massaeed area, close to the town of El-Arish in north Sinai.

Emergency services were at the scene extinguishing the blazes, officials said.

The pipeline, which supplies gas through Sinai and on to Jordan and Israel, had already been attacked 12 times since the uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

Egypt has been gripped by security-related problems since the uprising. The Sinai peninsula is particularly sensitive because of tensions with the heavily armed Bedouin community living there.

No group has claimed responsibility for the pipeline attacks.

Egypt’s 20-year gas deal with Israel, signed in the Mubarak era, is unpopular with some Egyptians, with critics accusing Israel of not paying enough for the fuel.

Previous explosions sometimes have forced weeks-long shutdowns along the pipeline run by Gasco, a subsidiary of the national gas company EGAS.

Gasco said it had resumed pumping gas to households and industrial factories in al-Arish and began experimental pumping to Jordan and Israel last week.

The pipeline has been shut since an explosion on Feb. 5.

Egypt said in November it would tighten security along the pipeline by installing alarms and recruiting security patrols from Bedouin tribesmen in the area.

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