By: Ali Omar
Masked assailants bombed a GASCO pipeline in Egypt’s troubled Sinai region Tuesday. The explosion, which caused no injuries, took place 50 kilometres south of the coastal town of Al-Arish.
Although earlier reports state that the damaged pipeline runs to Jordan, a military spokesman denied this claim and said that the pipeline supplies natural gas to cement manufacturing companies in an industrial area. The spokesman said that GASCO was investigating the incident, and the army was not taking any action.
GASCO could not immediately be reached for comments on the investigation.
The explosion succeeded in igniting the natural gas, and flames could be seen in the surrounding areas. Although the area was relatively calm during Mohamed Morsi’s presidency, pipelines in the Sinai have been attacked 16 times since the 25 January Revolution.
Since Morsi’s ouster, the army has fought a full-scale conflict against militants in the Sinai, cracking down on fighters as well as intercepting tunnels for smugglers that lead from Gaza to Egypt. But as the conflict stretches on, militants have proven their ability to attack locations outside of their traditional battleground.
The final week of 2013 saw two such attacks, a car bomb outside of the Daqahleya security directorate that killed 16 and injured 134, and another car bomb attack that struck a military intelligence building in Sharqeya which injured four.
Additional reporting by Nasser Al-Azzazi and AbdelHalim H. AbdAllah