Egyptian gas pipeline attacked again

July 12, 2011 at 6:21 AM

CAIRO, July 12 (UPI) -- Suspects were seen fleeing into the Sinai Peninsula desert in Egypt shortly after an explosion on a natural gas pipeline, witnesses said Tuesday.

Witnesses reported seeing two vehicles heading into the desert following an explosion at an inspection station near el-Arish in the north of the peninsula, Egyptian news service al-Ahram reports.

The explosion sent a fireball ripping through a pipeline used to export natural gas to Israel and Jordan.

The attack marks the fourth time the pipeline to Israel was sabotaged since revolution ended the presidency of Hosni Mubarak early this year. Engineers had said damage caused by a July 4 explosion on the same pipeline was nearly repaired.

There were no claims of responsibility for the Tuesday attack.

The attack follows pledges made between Paolo Scaroni, chief executive of Italian energy company Eni, and Egyptian interim Prime Minister Essam Sharaf regarding activities in Egypt.

"The new activities will take place in the Western Desert, in the Mediterranean and in the Sinai and will cover both exploration and development, through the drilling of additional wells and the acceleration of production from new discoveries," the energy company said in a statement.

Eni said investments in Egypt during the next year will amount to about $3 billion.

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