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Natural gas pipeline in Sinai blown up by suspected jihadists — Egyptian officials

EL ARISH, Egypt — Suspected Islamic State jihadists blew up a natural gas pipeline today in Egypt’s restive northern part of the Sinai Peninsula, causing a fire but no casualties, security officials say.

The officials say the suspected militants planted explosives under a pipeline in the town of Bir al-Abd.

The expulsion sent thick flames of fire shooting into the sky, and authorities stopped the flow of gas to extinguish the fire, according to eyewitnesses.

The officials speak on condition of anonymity because they aren’t authorized to speak to media and the eyewitnesses ask not to be named for fear of reprisal.

No group immediately claims the attack which caused no human casualties.

The Islamic State group affiliate, which is centered in Northern Sinai, however, has claimed previous attacks targeted gas pipelines between Egypt and both Jordan and Israel.

Egypt is battling an Islamic State-led insurgency in the Sinai that intensified after the military overthrew an elected but divisive Islamist president in 2013. The militants have carried out scores of attacks, mainly targeting security forces and Christians.

Today’s attack comes as the jihadists suffered heavy losses in recent months with Egyptian security forces, aided by armed tribesmen, intensifying their efforts to eliminate the group.

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