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Explosion in gas pipeline in Sinai, Egypt causes fire

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CAIRO (AP) – An explosion on a natural gas pipeline in Egypt’s northern Sinai Peninsula caused a fire but very little other damage and no casualties, a senior military official said.

General Mohamed Abdel Fadil Shousha, in charge of the northern part of the peninsula, said all pipeline valves were shut down immediately to control the fire that broke out after Thursday’s blast.

Authorities were still investigating the cause of the blast, Shousha said.

The Islamic State group posted a statement on its website claiming responsibility for the blast. She said IS militants detonated several explosive devices to damage a pipeline carrying natural gas from Egypt to Israel. The group did not provide any evidence of his claim.

Egypt has been battling an insurgency in northern Sinai for years now led by the IS subsidiary. Fighting intensified in 2013 after the military ousted the country’s elected but divisive Islamic president, Mohammed Morsi.

Authorities severely restrict access to northern Sinai, making it difficult to verify allegations of fighting.

IS has carried out a number of large-scale attacks in recent years, targeting mainly members of the security forces and Egypt’s Christian minority.

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