Sinai gas line bombed for 8th time this year

Egyptian authorities say damage is minimal because natural gas pumping had not yet resumed in pipeline.

gas pipeline 311 R (photo credit: REUTERS)
gas pipeline 311 R
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Armed assailants in Sinai bombed a portion of the natural-gas pipeline between Egypt, Israel and Jordan Friday about 60 kilometers from the northeast Sinai city of El-Arish, Israel Radio reported.
Egyptian officials said that the damage to the pipeline was small compared to other such explosions this year because that portion of the pipeline is empty since the last explosion earlier in November.
This blast was the eighth time terrorists have bombed the pipeline this year.
Earlier this month, Egyptian authorities arrested a top member of an Islamist terror group suspected of involvement in pipeline bombings that have disrupted gas supplies to Israel and Jordan.
The Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported that the detainee, Muhammad al-Teehi, was also being investigated for an August terror attack in southern Israel that killed eight people.
Residents of El-Arish confirmed that he belongs to a “well-known religious current” but said he cannot move because of a car accident that fractured his pelvis.
Egyptian officials say limits on troop numbers in Sinai under a 1979 peace treaty with Israel make it harder to secure the area, which local Bedouin say has been neglected for decades. Some have taken to smuggling and gun-running to scrape a living.
Egypt’s 20-year gas deal with Israel, signed in the Mubarak era, is unpopular with the Egyptian public, and critics argue that the Jewish state was not paying enough for the gas.
Previous explosions have closed the pipeline, run by Gasco, Egypt’s gas transport company, a subsidiary of the national gas company EGAS, for weeks.
The armed forces launched a security sweep in August to root out suspected Islamist gangs and, according to security sources at the time, captured four Islamist militants as they prepared to blow up the pipeline in El-Arish.