Sinai gas pipeline attacked


Armed men attacked a gas pipeline in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, security sources and witnesses said with no effect on gas imports through North Sinai from Israel. Egyptian security forces have been battling an Islamist insurgency concentrated in North Sinai and that has escalated since 2013 with small-scale attacks common.

A group of gunmen detonated explosives on the pipeline west of el-Arish on Sunday, causing a fire but no casualties, security sources and witnesses said.

The pipeline carries gas to homes and factories in el-Arish and central Sinai and was attacked previously, sources said.

Islamic State’s Sinai affiliate said in a statement it carried out an attack on a pipeline linking Egypt and Israel, without providing evidence.

Egypt began importing gas from Israel last month through a pipeline owned by the East Mediterranean Gas Company (EMG), including a sub-sea connection between el-Arish in Sinai and Ashkelon in Israel.

The gas is from Israel’s Leviathan field. A statement from partners developing the field said there was no damage to the EMG pipeline.

“The flow of gas from Leviathan to Egypt is continuing as normal,” the statement said.

Yossi Abu, chief executive of Israel’s Delek Drilling, with stakes in Leviathan and the EMG pipeline, said the project had a “significant security system”.

“We are not blind to the risk and are prepared for every scenario,” he told an investors’ conference, adding there was an alternative pipeline system, a quick response mechanism for faults and insurance to cover damage affecting Israeli gas exports to Egypt or Jordan.