Saboteurs blew up Egypt’s gas pipeline to Jordan and Israel early on Monday morning, just hours before the country holds its first election since President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February.
Witnesses told the Reuters news agency that the explosion struck the pipeline west of El-Arish in Sinai. They said there was a second consecutive blast, about 100 meters away.
Security sources told Reuters the explosions were detonated from a distance and that tracks from two vehicles were found in the area. Security forces and fire trucks raced to the scene.
It was the ninth attack on the pipeline this year, the eighth attack having taken place only last Friday.
Friday’s explosion did not disrupt the flow of gas because the pipeline was undergoing routine maintenance work, and there was no gas in the pipe at the time of the explosion. It is unknown what damage, if any, was caused by Monday’s explosion.
The Egyptian government said this month it would tighten security measures along the pipeline by installing alarm devices and recruiting security patrols from Bedouin tribesmen.
Israel depends on Egyptian gas for its power stations, and it will take at least another two years before the gas fields off the Israeli coast can begin supplying Israel with gas.