Unidentified militants bombed a natural gas pipeline south of Al-Arish, Sinai on Friday, the second such explosion this week and the 23rd since the 25 January Revolution in 2011.
The pipeline, which once served to export natural gas to Israel, is currently used to export gas to Jordan. Mohamed Morsi ended gas exports to Israel during his brief, one-year stint as president.
After a period of relative stability in Egypt’s restive Sinai during the tenure of Muslim Brotherhood-backed president Morsi, attacks on the Sinai pipeline have become more common since his ouster on 3 July 2013.
A pipeline 50 kilometres south of Al-Arish was bombed twice in two days, on 10 and 11 February. The frequency of bombings targeting natural gas pipelines that run to industrial areas in both Sinai and Jordan increased significantly since the beginning of the year.
The last bombing of this sort was 20 May. Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, an Al-Qaeda-inspired militant group operating in the restive peninsula, had previously claimed responsibility for bombings of this nature.
Thursday the military spokesman released a statement claiming that six “criminal elements” were killed in the Sinai Peninsula. The armed and “highly dangerous criminal elements” were engaged and killed by the armed forces before their car was burned.
Over a two day period, from 21-22 May, the armed forces killed four “terrorist elements”, arrested four others including two Palestinians on charges of incitement, arrested 21 others on various charges, destroyed two homes of “terrorist elements”, and burned four smaller houses which the armed forces claim are used to house and hide other militants.
The armed forces have been waging a fierce campaign against armed militants in the restive Sinai. Airstrikes are frequently reported alongside the destruction of cars, houses and equipment belonging to suspected militants. A vast majority of the smuggling tunnels that are used to transport goods and weapons between the Sinai and the Gaza strip have also been destroyed.