msnbc.com news services
updated 7/4/2011 2:48:04 AM ET 2011-07-04T06:48:04

Saboteurs blew up a strategic pipeline carrying gas from Egypt to Israel and Jordan Monday, Egyptian security sources said.

The explosion occurred at a station along the pipeline in the northern Sinai Peninsula near the town of El-Arish, which is 30 miles from Israel. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The blast sparked a fire and disrupted the flow of gas.

Disgruntled Bedouin tribesmen in the area have attacked the pipeline in the past.

It was the third attack since early February on the pipeline, which supplies natural gas to Israel and Jordan, local cement plants and a power station.

A security source said men with machine guns in a small truck forced guards at the station to leave, then planted explosive charges.

Witnesses said the sound of the explosion boomed out across the desert, frightening nearby residents, and tongues of fire could be seen above the station.

The pipeline is run by Gasco, Egypt's gas transport company which is a subsidiary of the national gas company EGAS.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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