Hamas blows up Sinai gas pipeline again – revenge for flotilla failure
DEBKAfile Special Report July 4, 2011, 8:40 AM (GMT+02:00)
The pipeline carrying Egyptian natural gas to Israel and Jordan via Sinai was blown up early Monday, July 4, for the third time in six months. All three attacks since Feb 5 were carried out according to debkafile's military sources by a special unit of Hamas saboteurs working with Bedouin smugglers allied with al Qaeda.
This time, the Palestinian extremists were retaliating for the stoppage of the international flotilla before it could set out to break the Israeli naval blockade on the Gaza Strip. Israel and Egypt again failed to guard the vital gas line against attack any more than Hamas has been prevented from seizing control of much of northern Sinai since Hosni Mubarak's overthrow.
This time, saboteurs trained in the blowing up of this particular pipeline arrived at sunrise at one of the pumping stations at Bir al-Abd, 80 kilometers south of El Arish with new tactics. After the second blast in April, Egypt with Israeli consent had deployed a mechanized army brigade to secure the facility. For Monday's attack, the terrorists parked a bomb car near the pipeline in the Bir al-Abd area and detonated it remotely before driving off in another vehicle. Flames rising 20 meters high were visible 15 kilometers away, forcing Egypt to stop the flow of gas before the fire spread towards the Suez Canal.
The supply of gas was resumed to Israel and Jordan only three weeks ago after a three-month stoppage from the April 27 blast. Egyptian gas covers around 45 percent of Israel's consumption and fuels 90 percent of Jordan's power supply.