Suspected Islamist militants today attacked a gas pipeline in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula that transports fuel to neighboring Israel and Jordan, officials say. The attack, which targeted a pumping station about 15 miles west of the city of el-Arish, is the sixth on the pipeline since the popular uprising that ousted longtime Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak in February. One guard was injured and two people suffered burns after their nearby huts caught fire in the pre-dawn explosion.
An initial investigation indicated the attackers planted explosives at the station, officials say. One of the officials blamed the strike on "extremist militants inspired by al-Qaeda," saying they have carried out past hits on the pipeline. Al-Qaeda-inspired militants have been increasingly active in Sinai since Mubarak's ouster, taking advantage of the security vacuum caused by the abrupt withdrawal of police forces. Authorities have blamed the militants for attacks on police patrols as well as the previous five on the gas pipeline.