An explosion rocked a gas terminal in Egypt's northern Sinai Peninsula today, setting off a massive fire that was contained by shutting off the flow of gas to neighboring Jordan and Egypt, officials and witnesses said. Egypt's natural gas company said the fire was caused by a gas leak. However, a local security official said an explosive device was detonated inside the terminal, and the regional governor, Abdel Wahab Mabrouk, said he suspected sabotage.
The blast and fire at the gas terminal in the Sinai town of El-Arish did not cause casualties. The explosion sent a pillar of flames leaping into the sky, but was a safe distance from the nearest homes, said Mabrouk. The terminal is part of a pipeline system that transports gas from Egypt's Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea to Israel, Syria, and Jordan. Jordan depends on Egyptian gas to generate 80% of its electricity.