Egypt gas line blown up as voting begins

2011-11-28 08:46

Cairo - Saboteurs on Monday blew up a pipeline that supplies gas to Israel, the official MENA news agency reported, just hours before the first election since Hosni Mubarak was ousted.

Masked gunmen planted explosives under the pipeline west of the town of El-Arish in the north of the Sinai peninsula, MENA said.

A second blast occurred seconds later about 100m away from the first explosion, a security official told AFP.

Witnesses said they saw the masked men driving away from the area just minutes before the blasts, which sent raging flames into the sky, visible from miles away.

Emergency services were rushed to the scene to try to control the blaze, the official said, adding that there were no immediate reports of casualties.

The attack- the ninth of its kind this year- came just hours before polling was due to start in landmark parliamentary elections.

The pipeline, which carries gas through the Sinai and on to Jordan and Israel, has already been attacked eight times this year, the first during the mass uprisings that drove president Mubarak from power in February.

The last attack was carried out on Friday.

Gas deliveries to Israel, agreed under Mubarak, have come under heavy criticism in Egypt.

Israel generates 40% of its electricity using natural gas, and Egypt provides 43% of its gas supplies.

Egyptian authorities have on several occasions announced measures to step up protection of the pipeline and try to arrest those behind the attacks.

Egyptian gas also covers 80% of Jordan's electricity production demand - 6.8 million cubic metres a day.

Egypt's Sinai region is particularly security sensitive due to tensions with the Bedouin community living there.

Many goods are smuggled to the Palestinian enclave of Gaza through the Sinai, which the Israelis also charge is a rear base for militant attacks against its territory.

  • Jaba - 2011-11-28 09:04

    A picture to illustrate what Egypt will look like once the brotherhood comes into power democratically… a landscape burning while people have fewer rights than they did under Mubarak. The Arab spring has turned out to be a winter… Religion will bring much death and destruction to Egypt… my prayers & thoughts are with the Egyptian Christian minority (known as Copts and account for about 10% of the population – 8 million people) whose life is on the line. The protection of minorities that was enjoyed under Mubarak is gone… a new form of Apartheid is spreading its ugly wings in the Arab world disguised as religious superiority but not being mistaken as plain hatred to anything that is non-Islamic.

      Barry - 2011-11-28 13:49

      Nice religious rant Jaba. Religion creates so much hatred and bloodshed worldwide, yet the only solution you have is to pray. I think the time to solve world problems based on religious doctrine should be long since past.

      Martin - 2011-11-28 14:03

      Not religion in general, Barry, a certain religion.

      Barry - 2011-11-28 14:19

      Most definitely ALL religions Martin

  • TheWally - 2011-11-28 09:47

    so coptics living under the rule of a corrupt government is better for coptic christian society you say? Jaba you're double standards is outstanding! your stereo type and complete ignorance is evident in your assumptions above. if you have no knowledge or have not experienced Egyptian society personally, rather refrain from commenting as you looking more and more ignorant with every word typed

      Martin - 2011-11-28 10:35

      Wally, check out this site: and be educated about Egyptian society.

  • Bruce - 2011-11-28 10:28

    what is happening in the Arab world is sad and I am still to hear from the Arab League regarding all that has happened to the Sharia and it's grip on the muslim states.

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