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Sinai Gas Pipeline Blown up for Fifteenth Time

Source: Ahram Online 7/22/2012, Location: Egypt

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For the fifteenth time since the January 25 Revolution, a gas pipeline used to carry gas through Sinai into Israel and Jordan was blown up early Sunday. The attack, taking place in El-Khoroba area in the east of Al-Arish in northern Sinai, is the first to take place after President Mohamed Morsi assumed office on 30 June. Militant Bedouins are suspected of perpetrating the attack.

No injuries were reported and fire trucks and security personnel were on the scene to control a resulting fire that reached 20 metres high. Sundayís incident has shown that despite the termination of the gas deal with Israel three months ago, pipelines still seem to be in use.

In April, Egypt cancelled its gas trade deal with Israel following popular pressure to abandon the deal. Mohamed Shoeib, CEO of trhe East Mediterranean Gas Company (EGAS), said 22 April in a televised interview that the deal was cancelled when Israel failed to meet payment deadlines.

Following the deal's termination, Israeli officials expressed concern with what they saw as a unilateral decision taken by Egyptian authorities, saying the move would have negative implications on the Camp David peace accords.

The 20-year natural gas deal signed between Israel and Egypt in 2005 has been a pillar of Egyptian-Israeli economic cooperation following the historic 1979 peace treaty between the two countries.

On 28 June, former oil minister under Hosni Mubarak, Sameh Fahmi, and then fugitive businessman Hussein Fahmy were sentenced to 15 years in prison over the gas deal. They were both accused of selling gas to Israel at far below market value.

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