'Explosion hits natural gas pipeline in Sinai Peninsula'

Blast is third this month, fifth this year; masked men attack police station after riding through el-Arish, waving flags with Islamic slogans.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
July 30, 2011 16:24
1 minute read.
Gas pipeline explosion [illustrative]

gas pipeline 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS)

An explosion was reported at a depot along the Egyptian natural gas pipeline in Sinai that normally supplies Israel with gas, Army Radio reported Saturday.

The attack on the pipeline was the third this month and the fifth since the beginning of 2011. It also followed a shootout between Egyptian security forces and apparent Islamic militants on Friday.

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The pipeline was not currently supplying Israel with natural gas due to damage incurred from the previous blasts.


On Friday, an Egyptian army officer and three civilian bystanders were shot dead in fighting between an armed group and security forces in northern Sinai, security sources said on Saturday.

About 100 armed men rode through the town of el-Arish on Friday on motorcycles and in cars, waving flags with Islamic slogans and firing in the air, Sinai security sources said.

They then attacked a police station, engaging in a shootout with the police and army in which the army officer died.

In a statement released early on Saturday, the armed forces said they had arrested five suspects. The identity of the attackers has not been released.

Three civilians, a 70-year-old man, a 13-year-old boy and an 18-year-old youth were caught up in the shooting and died from bullet wounds, the ministry of health said in a statement.



Four army officers, nine security guards and six civilians were wounded in the attack and taken to an army hospital for treatment, MENA state news agency reported.

Witnesses said the attackers, many of whom wore masks, did not seem to be from the area as they lost their way several times before reaching the police station.


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