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Middle East waits for gas to flow

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Egyptian anti-government demonstrators camp next to an army tank in Cairo's Tahrir Square on February 7, 2011 on the 14th day of protests calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/19c05f3ad6947c7c3841c5a873e1c2fa/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Egyptian anti-government demonstrators camp next to an army tank in Cairo's Tahrir Square on February 7, 2011 on the 14th day of protests calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. UPI | License Photo

JERUSALEM, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Natural gas shipments from Egypt to Israel should be back online by the end of the week, though deliveries further upstream could take a while, an official said.

An explosion in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula struck part of a natural gas pipeline network at a junction to Jordan and Israel last weekend. Sabotage was blamed for the explosion, though the Egyptian government said it was caused by a gas leak.

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Israeli energy officials told the Platts news service on condition of anonymity that gas shipments could resume later this week. If engineers needed to install a bypass to get around the damaged section, however, it could take several more days for gas supplies to get upstream.

Officials said consumers further upstream in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon may have to wait longer for gas supplies to resume because of complications at the junction in Egypt.

13th day of protests in Egypt

Egyptian protesters have entered their third week an anti-government demonstrations. Protests last week turned violence, though the Egyptian military was able to restore order by Friday.

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