Egypt gas pipeline blast 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Saboteurs on Tuesday blew up an Egyptian pipeline distribution station in the
northern Sinai Peninsula that supplies natural gas to Israel, Egypt’s official
MENA news agency said.
It was the fourth such attack this
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MENA quoted eyewitnesses as saying the assailants attacked a
security guard at the Al- Tawil station near the town of El-Arish in the morning
hours before blowing up the pipeline.
National Infrastructures Minister
Uzi Landau said the pipeline attack marked another blow to Egyptian-Israeli
“The most important economic connection between Israel
and Egypt is eroding,” Landau said. “Electricity disruptions are not expected
since we have other reserves, but energy will be more expensive.”
the price would increase by about 20 percent due to the use of gasoline and
diesel fuel rather than gas, adding his job was to “maintain the supply of
electricity” to Israel.
“Israel was ready to allow Egypt to deploy more
forces in Sinai to secure the pipeline, even at the beginning of the Egyptian
uprising, in opposition to the peace agreement,” he explained. “But I recommend
against interfering since our neighboring country’s situation is not simple.
Israel needs to rely on herself and the Tamar reserves can supply [the country’s
gas] needs for the next 25 years.”
Egypt’s Nile television said flames
from the station could be seen up to 20 kilometers away.
It gave no
details on the causes of the explosion or the extent of damage, but said the
security guard and some members of his family were believed to have been
MENA said the station pumps gas to another station in an area
called Sheikh Zwayed, which then transfers the gas to Israel. The agency had
earlier reported that the station was used to “export Egyptian gas
Egypt has been trying to renegotiate gas prices with Israel and
Jordan after former president Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down in February
amid charges of corruption, including selling gas to Israel at below market
Israel says it pays market rates.
MENA said that the
governor of Northern Sinai and the area’s security chief arrived on the scene as
security forces searched for those responsible, and that fire trucks were trying
to contain the flames.
Egypt’s gas transport company, Gasco, a subsidiary of the national gas company
EGAS, has been finalizing repairs on a pipeline that supplies gas to Israel and
Egypt, and was expected to complete the work over the weekend.
source 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, and then planted
Previous attacks on the pipeline on April 27 and
February 5 forced its closure for several weeks.