By Agence France-Presse
Masked gunmen on Friday blew up a gas pipeline which supplies Egyptian gas to Israel, the official MENA news agency reported, in the eighth such attack this year.
The saboteurs planted explosives under the pipeline, around 60 kilometres (40 miles) west of the town of El-Arish in the north of the Sinai peninsula, before fleeing, witnesses said.
No one was injured and, due to maintenance operations at the time of the blast following recent attacks, there was no gas in the pipeline, MENA reported.
The pipeline, which carries gas through the Sinai and on to Jordan and Israel, has already been attacked seven times this year, the first during the mass uprisings that drove president Hosni Mubarak from power in February.
The last attack was carried out two weeks ago, when two explosions struck the same section of the pipeline. The army was deployed in the region since the blasts.
Gas deliveries to Israel, agreed under Mubarak, have come under heavy criticism in Egypt.
Israel generates 40 percent of its electricity using natural gas, and Egypt provides 43 percent 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 percent 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.