The pipeline delivering Egyptian natural gas to Israel and Jordan has been attacked and supplies have been interrupted.
It is the second time the pipeline, which runs through Egypt’s North Sinai desert, has had its operations interrupted by attacks since protests against former President Hosni Mubarak erupted in January, ending his 30-year rule.
“An unknown armed gang attacked the gas pipeline near Arish city,” a security source told the Reuters newswire.
“Authorities closed the main source of gas supplying the pipeline and are working to extinguish the fire,” the source added.
The pipeline had previously been attacked south of the North Sinai town of el-Arish during an 18-day standoff between protesters and the government forced the President from power in February. The attack interrupted the supply to Israel and Jordan.
The gas deal with Israel had not been popular during Mubarak’s rule, as the gas seen to be underpriced, and the deal tainted by corruption.
Last week, Egypt’s public prosecutor ordered former Energy Minister Sameh Fahmy and six other officials to stand trial on charges of squandering public funds related to the natural gas deal with Israel. The prosecutor alleges that the deal in question caused the country losses worth more than $714m.
Israel gets 40 per cent of its natural gas from Egypt after exports were agreed as part of the landmark 1979 peace accord.