Middle East

Egypt: Gas pipeline to Israel and Jordan hit by blast

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Media captionEgyptian pipeline hit by explosion

An Egyptian pipeline supplying gas to Israel and Jordan was hit by a strong explosion, state media and officials said.

Egypt's Mena news agency said the blast occurred near the town of al-Arish in the north of the Sinai peninsula.

Masked gunmen ordered the guards at the terminal to leave before blowing it up, security sources told AP news agency.

It was the fourth such attack this year on pipelines in Sinai exporting gas to Jordan and Israel.

The blast, which took place early on Tuesday, caused flames "up to 10 metres (32 ft) high", according to the report by Mena.

The agency said emergency crews were trying to contain the fire and the area was being searched for those behind the attack.

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.

The last explosion occurred on 4 July.

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