BEIRUT - Syria said on Wednesday a gas pipeline in the east of the country caught fire and that production continued using alternative pipelines.

State news agency, SANA, quoted an official at the Oil Ministry saying the fire was most likely caused by a leak in the pipeline, and spread to a wide area due to the dry grass around it, adding that the fire was under control.

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The overnight explosions occurred in a heavily guarded area in al-Tayana and Busaira regions east of the provincial capital of Deir al-Zor, near the border with Iraq's Sunni heartland, said the sources in the tribal province, which has been witnessing large demonstrations denouncing Assad's autocratic rule.

Residents earlier said bomb explosions damaged the pipelines.

On Tuesday Egyptian gas pipelines in Sinai were bombed for the fourth time this year, injuring a security guard and his family, and disrupting the flow of natural gas from Egypt to Jordan and Israel.

A security source had said after the blast on July 4 that men in a small truck who were armed with machine guns forced guards at the station to flee, then planted explosive charges.

Previous attacks on the Egyptian pipeline on April 27 and on February 5 closed the pipeline for weeks.

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