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Palestinian arrested in connection with Sinai blast

July 13, 2013 4:14 P.M. (Updated: July 16, 2013 10:14 A.M.)
CAIRO (Ma'an) -- Egyptian security officials arrested a Palestinian man late Friday in relation to a bomb blast which targeted a gas pipeline in Sinai last week, security officials said.

Mohamed Abu Hashem, 30, was detained in the Sinai peninsula while trying to return to the Gaza Strip, Egyptian officials said, and faces charges of blowing up a gas pipeline in north Sinai last Sunday.

Saboteurs blew up the pipeline, which supplied natural gas to Jordan, in two places.

One explosion shook the city of El-Arish, causing flames which could be seen from the distance, witnesses and security officials said.

A Jordanian government official confirmed that gas supplies to the energy-poor kingdom were cut.

"The gas supplies to Jordan stopped due to the attack," the official told state-run Petra news agency.

"The Egyptian authorities have informed us that they are currently evaluating the situation and the damage," he added without elaborating.

Egyptian gas covers 80 percent of electricity generation in Jordan, which imports 95 percent of its energy needs.

In 2011, militants targeted several pipelines in Sinai supplying gas to Israel and Jordan. Around 40 percent of Israel's natural gas is imported from Egypt.

On Saturday with gunmen killed a Coptic Christian priest by dragging him from his car and riddling him with bullets in the restive north of the Sinai peninsula, security sources said.
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