The ISIS terror group claimed that its forces had blown up a gas pipeline between Israel and Egypt last week? A blast hit the el-Arish al-Qantara natural gas pipeline in the Sinai Peninsula, citing testimony from witnesses and local Egyptian authorities.
ISIS claimed responsibility in a message on its Telegram channel, but did not provide any evidence. According to a senior Egyptian official, the explosive caused a fire but little other damage and there were no casualties.
Gen. Mohamed Abdel Fadil Shousha, who governs the northern part of the peninsula, said all the pipeline valves were promptly sealed off to control the fire that followed Thursday’s blast.
Authorities were still investigating the cause of the explosion.
There was no official acknowledgment of the IS claim by Israel, but Channel 13 quoted a senior energy official denying the pipeline had been damaged in any way. The official said gas was continuing to flow from the pipeline without any problem.
Gunmen in Sinai have made similar claims about attacking pipelines in the past, including in February, which Israeli officials also denied.
The gas pipelines running through the Sinai Peninsula have long been a favorite isolated target of jihadist groups in the restive region.
Dozens of attacks took place in the wake of the overthrow of dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011, mostly targeting a pipeline carrying gas from Egypt to Israel.
A 2014 bombing of a gas pipeline south of el-Arish by suspected al-Qaeda-inspired saboteurs sabotaged another pipeline — but it was carrying gas to Jordan, not Israel.
Israel later stopped importing gas from Egypt, partly due to soaring demands in Egypt and partly because the attacks made the supply unreliable.
And Israel’s discovery of massive natural gas reserves in its Mediterranean economic zone made imports unnecessary, turning the Jewish state into an energy exporter to Europe for the first time in its history.
Times of Israel / ABC Flash Point News 2020.