ISIS claims responsibility for Sinai pipeline attack

Militants attacked a gas pipeline in Egypt’s northern Sinai Peninsula on Sunday night, reportedly aiming to disrupt gas flow between Israel and Egypt. Israeli authorities said gas supply between the countries remained unaffected.

The Islamic State’s Sinai Province affiliate claimed responsibility on Monday for the attack on the pipeline. Local sources told Paris-based AFP that the gas pipeline targeted was in fact a domestic supply line for a local power station.

In a statement, the Sinai affiliate said it had detonated a number of explosives next to a pipeline linking “the Jews” and “the apostate Egyptian government,” and had caused damage to the pipeline.

The attack happened near the city of El-Arish, with initial reports claiming that the targeted pipeline was a line carrying gas from Israel’s Leviathan gas platform to Egypt. The partners operating the offshore platform stated that no damage had been caused to the EMG pipeline connecting the countries, and gas flow was continuing as usual.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz’s office stated on Sunday night that gas was continuing to flow from Israel to Egypt and it was working with relevant authorities to investigate the nature of the incident.

Reports on Monday morning stated that the pipeline that was hit by the attack was actually a domestic one that leads to a power station in El-Arish, which supplies electricity to homes and factories in the central Sinai, according to AFP.

Israel started exporting natural gas to its southern neighbor last month from the Leviathan field, which commenced operations on January 6. Exports follow a $15 billion, decade-long deal, signed by energy firms Delek Drilling and Houston-based Noble Energy in February 2018, to supply 64 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Egypt from the Leviathan and Tamar gas fields, located off Israel’s coast.