Sunday, February 5, 2012

Blast hits Egypt's gas pipeline to Israel

An explosion hit a gas pipeline running from Egypt to Israel Sunday, witnesses and state television reported.

The pipeline, which also supplies gas to Jordan, has come under attack at least 12 times since Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was toppled in 2011.

The latest blast took place in the Massaeed area west of the Mediterranean coastal town of al-Arish. Gas pumping was stopped after the explosion.

Residents in al-Arish told Reuters they could see flames from their town. Security forces and fire trucks raced to the scene, witnesses said.

Security in Sinai loosened after Mubarak's fall as the police presence thinned out across Egypt.

Egypt's 20-year gas deal with Israel, signed in the Mubarak era, is unpopular with some Egyptians, with critics accusing Israel of not paying enough for the gas.

Previous explosions have sometimes led to weeks-long shutdowns along the pipeline, run by Egypt's gas transport company Gasco, a subsidiary of the national gas company EGAS. Read More