- Israel says it has not recieved gas from Egypt since July
- The pipeline in the area has been attacked at least five other times
- In the past al Qaeda has praised those who attacked the pipeline
- The attack comes after Egyptian authorities cracked down on terror groups in the area
A blast early Tuesday morning destroyed a section of a gas pipeline in northern Sinai that carries gas from Egypt to Israel and Jordan. It was the latest in a series of attacks on the pipeline in recent months.
The blast occurred in Arish, said Egyptian Gen Saleh Elmasry.
The flames jumped about 12 meters (40 feet) in the air and set some homes on fire, witnesses said.
Authorities were able to get the blaze under control by sealing another part of the pipeline.
Nobody was killed.
Last month, the Egyptian army and police announced they were cracking down on terror groups in the area after a series of similar attacks on the pipeline. At that time, authorities said the pipeline had been attacked five times since the February revolution that ousted then-Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak .
Authorities said they were targeting members of the extremist Jaish el-Islam group, which is affiliated with al Qaeda.
The Egyptian military has said it is also concerned about the influence of the new al Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri. The new leader is Egyptian and, last month, released a message exhorting his followers in Egypt to take advantage of Mubarak's ouster.
In an audio message that appeared on Jihadist forums in August , al- Zawahiri said: "I commend the heroes who blew up the gas pipeline to Israel. I ask Allah to reward them for their heroic act, for they have expressed the anger of the Islamic Ummah against this continuing crime from the reign of Hosni Mubarak to the rule of the Military Council."
Israel receives about 40% of its natural gas from Egypt.
The pipeline between Egypt and Israel became operational in 2008 and the arrangement represents one of the major economic agreements between the two countries.
The issue of gas sales to Israel has become highly controversial in Egypt with various allegations circulating that Israel received below market prices for the gas and that Egyptian government officials enriched themselves on the deal.
The Israeli government and Israeli investors in the pipeline have categorically denied below market pricing for the gas.
A spokeswoman for the Israeli Infrastructure Ministry did not release any details on Tuesday's attack but said there has been no flow of gas from Egypt to Israel since July.