Gas pipeline explosion (illustrative)
Gas pipeline explosion (illustrative) Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Egyptian army arrested on Tuesday four gunmen in the Sinai Peninsula as they prepared to detonate a device near the gas pipeline near the city of el-Arish, AFP reported.

A local security source told the news agency, “Security guards near the terminal informed the army of suspicious movements. Members of the armed forces, backed by armored cars, immediately headed to the region and managed to encircle the four.”

 He added that automatic weapons and an explosive device have been seized and the four are being interrogated.

Had the gunmen not been stopped, they would have blown up the gas pipeline which provides gas to Jordan and Israel for the sixth time in the last six months.

Since the uprising in Egypt which led to the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak, the pipeline has repeatedly been a target of terrorists. Several times, the attacks caused the gas flow from Egypt to Israel to stop.

The Egyptian army’s “Operation Eagle” which started in the Sinai Peninsula on Monday is aimed at hunting down terrorists suspected of attacking the pipeline, as well as police stations in the region.

Around 1,000 soldiers and policemen forces were deployed last Friday and Saturday in the northern Sinai to carry out the operation.