SANAA - Unidentified attackers blew up Yemen's main oil pipeline, forcing the country to shut down one of its most lucrative sources of income, government and tribal sources said on Saturday.

Yemen's oil and gas pipelines have been repeatedly sabotaged by insurgents and tribesmen since anti-government protests created a power vacuum in 2011, causing fuel shortages and slashing export earnings for the impoverished country.

Witnesses said the pipeline linking production fields in the central Maarib province to the Red Sea was attacked on Friday night.

"We heard a blast in the Sirwah area followed by flames rising from the pipeline," one tribal witness told Reuters.

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