EL ARISH, Egypt (AP) — Suspected Islamic State terrorists blew up a natural gas pipeline Saturday in Egypt’s restive northern part of the Sinai Peninsula, causing a fire but no casualties, security officials said.
The officials said the suspected terrorists planted explosives under a pipeline in the town of Bir al-Abd.
The explosion 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 spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to media and the eyewitnesses asked not to be named for fear of reprisal.
No group immediately claimed the attack.
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 terrorists have carried out scores of attacks, mainly targeting Egyptian security forces and Christians.
Saturday’s attack comes as the terrorists suffered heavy losses in recent months with Egyptian security forces, aided by armed tribesmen, who intensified their efforts to eliminate the group.
The southern part of the Sinai peninsula, along the Red Sea coast, is removed from the fighting and a popular tourist destination for Israelis and others.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.