Attackers blow up Egypt gas line, halting exports

By ASHRAF SWEILAM | November 10, 2011 | 3:25 AM EST

EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — Attackers set off explosives along a gas pipeline in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula that transports fuel to neighboring Israel and Jordan early on Thursday, Egypt's state news agency MENA reported.

It is the seventh attack on the pipeline since the popular uprising ousted longtime Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak in February.

The report on MENA said unidentified assailants placed explosive charges on the line that transports natural gas in two places hear the north Sinai town of el-Arish, causing blasts and huge fires. The explosions forced a shutdown and halted exports to Jordan and Israel.

Security officials didn't name any suspects in the attack. Previous bombings have been blamed on al-Qaida-inspired militants who have stepped up activity in the Sinai, taking advantage of a security vacuum caused by scant police forces in the post-Mubarak era. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Gas exports through the pipeline resumed about a month ago after damage from previous bombings was repaired.