Gas pipeline in Sinai bombed for 15th time since revolution started

The pipeline transporting Egyptian natural gas to Israel has been bombed for the 15th time since the January uprising last year, according to North Sinai Governorate sources.

The explosion, which took place in the Taweel area, 10 km east of Arish city, would appear to confirm that gas exports to Israel have restarted.

The source referred to information about the resumption of gas exports to Israel four days ago.

However, Mohamed Ayyoub, head of the Gasco Company in Arish, denied that exports had restarted, saying the gas inside the pipeline was left from before Egypt had announced it was halting gas exports.  According to sources, the company continues to pump gas to keep the equipment efficient but does not pump the gas to Israel.

The blast apparently took place in a depopulated area and was caused by improvised explosive devices. No casualties were reported.

Egypt signed a gas deal with Israel in 2004, but many Egyptians were strongly opposed to the agreement. Many called for its cancellation since the 25 January uprising.

No attackers' identities have been discovered after any after any of the bombings.

Five vehicles and fire engines tried to contain the blaze, which was visible from the Gaza Strip 45 km away, the sources added. Several security officials also attended the blast area.

The Gasco Company, which operates the pipeline, stopped pumping to allow the emergency services to contain the fire, which meant gas to Arish power plant and certain districts in West Arish was cut off.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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