Middle East

Egypt: Explosion hits gas pipeline in northern Sinai

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A pipeline carrying gas from Egypt to Israel and Jordan has been hit by an explosion, officials have said.

The blast happened at a pumping station at Nagah, in the Bir al-Abd region of the North Sinai governorate.

One security source told the AFP news agency that the pipeline had been bombed by saboteurs.

If confirmed, it would be the third attack on a pipeline in Sinai since February, when a popular uprising toppled President Hosni Mubarak.

The security source told AFP that a car parked near the pipeline shortly before the blast. Previous attacks have been blamed on armed gangs.

The explosion sent flames into the sky and cut the flow of gas.

Emergency services have been deployed to the area to try to bring the fire under control. There have so far been no reports of any casualties.

Jordan depends on Egyptian gas to generate 80% of its electricity, while Israel gets 40% of its natural gas from its neighbour.

Egypt began supplying Israel with gas in 2008 under a 20-year deal, despite widespread public opposition because of Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip and claims that Israel was being offered preferential rates.

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