Explosion hits gas pipeline in Egypt's North Sinai region

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A blast hit a gas pipeline in Egypt's restive North Sinai region Thursday, a security source told AFP.

"An explosion occurred (Thursday) evening along the main gas pipeline supplying the city of El-Arish," the source said, referring to the provincial capital.

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The blast took place in the Sabika area to the city's west, the source added.

Witnesses told AFP that smoke and flames from the fire were visible some 30 kilometres (almost 20 miles) away.

The cause of the blast was not immediately clear.

Egypt has for years been fighting an Islamist insurgency in North Sinai, which escalated following the military's 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Provincial governor Mohammed Abdel Fadil Shousha said in a statement that the blast did not cause any casualties and "will not impact the gas supply" to the city.

Security forces were searching the area and authorities have opened an investigation, the statement added.

In February 2018, authorities launched a nationwide operation against militants, focusing on North Sinai.

Earlier this year, the ISIS group said it blew up a gas pipeline around 80 kilometres west of El-Arish, claiming it was connected to Israel.

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