News24

Yemen gas pipline ablaze after attack

2011-10-15 10:26

Aden - A gas pipeline serving fields in Yemen's restive southeast was ablaze on Saturday after an overnight rocket-propelled grenade attack, a Shabwa provincial official told AFP.

The saboteurs struck in the Al-Hadhina district, just two kilometres from the Balhaf terminal on the Gulf of Aden, disrupting its operations, the official added, asking not to be identified.

"Following the attack, operations were halted in several parts of the terminal," the official said without elaborating.

Huge columns of flame and plumes of smoke were visible from as far as 25km away, witnesses told AFP.

There was no immediate claim for the attack but the provincial official said he thought it was likely to have been an Al-Qaeda attack carried out in retaliation for apparent US air strikes in Shabwa on Friday that killed seven suspected jihadists, including a son of US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaqi.

"I think it is a response to the air strikes," the official said.

The 320km gas pipeline links fields in Marib province further north with Balhaf in Shabwa.

Yemen began exports of liquefied natural gas from the terminal in November 2009.

Both provinces are strongholds of Al-Qaeda.