Egyptian pipeline blast cuts gas to Jordan

July 4, 2011 at 9:03 AM

CAIRO, July 4 (UPI) -- Egypt's export of natural gas to Jordan stopped Monday after a pipeline blast touched off a fire and disrupted the gas flow, security officials said.

Middle East News Agency, Egypt's state-owned news outlet, said witnesses reported a group of masked attackers sabotaged the pipeline. Witness said the attackers gained access to the pipeline after handcuffing guards.

The blast, which occurred near Arish in Sinai, is the third explosion in six months to the pipeline, which supplies natural gas to Israel and Jordan.

A Jordanian official said the country received 50 million cubic feet of natural gas daily before the explosion.

The governor of North Sinai, Abdel Wahab Mabrouk, called the incident a "terrorist act that seeks to destabilize Sinai," MENA reported.

Security sources said fire resulting from the explosion was under control and officials closed the pipeline's valves to stop the flow of gas. Gas supplies were cut off at an Arish electricity station, about 2,500 homes and the industrial zone in central Sinai.

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