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The New Arab

Gas pipeline targeted by militants in North Sinai

Militants have targeted gas pipe lines in Sinai since 2011 [AFP]

Date of publication: 8 January, 2016

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A large explosion tore through a gas pipeline, leaving locals on high alert as the January 25 revolution anniversary approaches.
Flames shooting from a gas pipeline have been reported by residents of Midan village after a large explosion rocked Arish city in North Sinai.

No injuries or loss of life have so far been reported following the blast on Thursday night.

The explosion took place close to the Midan checkpoint, an important post on the western entrance of al-Arish, used by the Egyptian military to prevent militants from entering the area.

Following the Egyptian revolution in January 2011, a number of explosions targeted gas pipelines running from Sinai into Jordan and Israel.

Egypt was previously supplying gas to Israel at a heavily reduced rate, before the deal was cancelled in 2012.

The Arab Gas Pipeline, which links Port Said and Al-Arish to the port of Aqaba, in Jordan, has become a particular target for Sinai-based militant groups, and as a result Egypt's gas exports to Jordan dropped dramatically in 2014

Militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis was initially claiming responsibility for these attacks. The group has since pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group and changed its name to Wilayat Sinai - "Sinai province".

The latest bombing comes as Egypt is on high security alert in the run up to the January 25 revolution anniversary.

Egyptian authorities have been facing a growing Islamist insurgency in North Sinai since the ousting of former President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

The governorate has become the scene of frequent clashes between militants and the Egyptian armed forces, which have launched an intensified counter-insurgency crackdown.

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