Attackers set off explosives along a gas pipeline in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula that transports fuel to neighbouring Israel and Jordan early on Thursday, Egypt’s state news agency MENA reported.
It was the seventh attack on the pipeline since the popular uprising ousted Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak in February.
The report on MENA said unidentified assailants placed explosive charges in two separate places on the line that transports natural gas near the north Sinai town of el-Arish, causing blasts and huge fires. The explosions forced a shutdown and halted exports to Jordan and Israel.
But later, a Sinai security official said there was only one explosion on Thursday on the pipeline. He said the attackers blew a hole in an underground part of the pipeline, causing less damage than in past attacks, which mostly targeted pumping stations.
The official said no one saw the attackers, though police were searching the site for clues. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
Previous bombings have been blamed on al-Qaeda-inspired militants who have stepped up activity in the Sinai, taking advantage of a security vacuum caused by scant police forces in the post-Mubarak era.
Gas exports through the pipeline resumed about a month ago after damage from previous bombings was repaired.