'Terror attack on Egypt-Israel gas pipeline in El-Arish'
Egyptian state tv reports masked men set off detonation at gas terminal near pipeline in Sinai causing massive flames; gas supply to Israel cut.
By JPOST.COM STAFF, ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 5, 2011 09:58
2 minute read.
Gas Pipeline Blast 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
group of masked men set off a detonation at a gas terminal near the Israel-Egypt gas
pipeline in El-Arish, Egypt in the northern Sinai early on Saturday
morning, setting off a massive fire along the pipeline, Egyptian state television reported.
say they heard the sound of an explosion, and that massive flames shot
into the air. Egyptian state television referred to the incident as a
Editor's Notes: The reversal of a generation’s
Column One: Israel and Arab democracy
Mubarak: I'd resign, but Egypt would descend into
The governor of the region, Abdel Wahab Mabrouk, said he suspected "sabotage," but provided no details.
Flames raged at the
scene for three hours before they were successfully put out, Al-Jazeera reported.
were reported in the incident.
The flow of gas
through the pipeline to Israel has been cut off temporarily following the
Israeli officials said it was not clear whether the explosion affected the pipeline leading to Israel.
this stage, the gas supply to Israel was stopped according to procedure
in emergency scenarios," said Chen Ben Lulu, spokesman of Israel's
Infrastructure Ministry. "We are not sure what caused the explosion."
pipelines transport gas from Egypt's Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea
to Israel and Jordan. The gas pipeline to Jordan was damaged in the
blast, according to Israel Radio.
The Prime Minister's
Office stated that "Israel is prepared for stoppages in the gas supply
from Egypt and has immediate access to alternative sources of energy."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with Infrastructure Minister Uzi
Landau on Saturday to discuss the explosion and the subsequent cutting off of the
gas supply through the pipeline.
The Infrastructure Ministry does not foresee problems with the country's electricity supply as a result of the explosion.
Israel Radio reported that security on the country's energy facilities
has been increased in the aftermath of the El-Arish incident.
security sources blamed "foreign elements" for the attack, Reuters
reported. Security forces in the area were on high alert in the
aftermath of the attack.
The gas pipeline has come under attack in the past.
tribesmen of the Sinai Peninsula attempted to blow up the pipeline last
July as tensions intensified between them and the Egyptian government,
which they accuse of discrimination and of ignoring their plight.