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Egypt says gas pipeline to Israel, Jordan bombed

27 april 2011, 12:12
Photo courtesy of eczp.blogspot.com
Photo courtesy of eczp.blogspot.com
Unknown saboteurs bombed an Egyptian gas pipeline in Sinai at dawn on Wednesday, forcing authorities to cut supplies to neighbouring Israel and Jordan, a security official told AFP.

The attack took place near the village of Al-Sabil in the El-Arish region, the official said, adding that the bomb was activated remotely.

There were no reports of casualties and the extent of the damage was not immediately known.

The pipeline was previously sabotaged on February 5 during a popular uprising that forced former president Hosni Mubarak from power on February 11.

Supplies of gas to Israel and Jordan from that disruption resumed eventually on March 16.

Egypt supplies about 40 percent of Israel's natural gas which is used to produce electricity.

Jordan imports around 240 million cubic feet of Egyptian gas a day, or 80 percent of its electricity needs.

The previous disruption cost the Jordan economy some $4.2 million a day, Energy Minister Khalid Tuqan said at the time.

An armed Bedouin group in June threatened to attack the pipeline, security officials said, leading Egyptian authorities to beef up security around the pipeline and terminal.

Police relations with the region's former nomads are often tense, with the Bedouin complaining of routine harassment and discrimination.

Activists accuse the police of exploiting concerns about the pipeline to crack down on the community.

Human rights groups have criticised Egyptian policy towards the Bedouin, who faced harsh police treatment after a series of bombings in Sinai resorts between 2004 and 2006 which killed dozens of Egyptians and foreign tourists.

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