Egypt gas pipeline to Israel blown up for third time

Egyptian security sources say men with machine guns plant explosive charges causing pipeline to explode at station in northern Sinai.

Egypt gas pipeline blast 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Egypt gas pipeline blast 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
An unidentified terrorist cell blew up the gas pipeline leading from Egypt to Israel and Jordan Monday, Egyptian security sources said, forcing a shutdown in the flow of natural gas for the third time since February.
The explosion took place in the early morning at a station along the pipeline in the northern Sinai Peninsula at Bir Abd, 60 kilometers east of the Suez Canal, the sources said.
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National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau said the suspension of gas deliveries would not affect the economy right away.
“Israel has solutions for the immediate future,” Landau told the Knesset Finance Committee. “We are dealing with the matter by changing the mix of fuels in power stations.
No disruptions to power supply are expected.
We have simulated these situations in the past, and we are prepared.”
A security source said men with machine guns in a small truck forced guards at the pipeline station to leave, then planted explosive charges.
“We do not have sufficient information until now, but in principle the explosion happened in the same way that the two previous explosions happened,” another security source told Reuters.
The natural gas company that runs the pipeline closed it down after the explosion, the source said.
Witnesses said the sound of the blast boomed out across the desert, frightening locals, and tongues of fire could be seen above the station.
Explosions on February 5 and April 27 closed the pipeline for weeks.
The pipeline is run by Gasco, Egypt’s gas transport company – a subsidiary of the national gas company EGAS.
No one claimed responsibility for Monday’s blast. Disgruntled Beduin in the area have been blamed for attacking the pipeline in the past, as have Islamist extremists opposed to Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel.