07/04/2011, 00.00
EGYPT
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Sinai: explosion hits gas pipeline built thanks to Egypt-Israel accords

Sources tell AsiaNews that Islamic extremists placed the bomb because they are opposed to the government’s pro-Israel policies still in place following Mubarak’s fall. More clashes occur in Tahrir Square ; 12 people are injured.
Cairo (AsiaNews) – A pipeline carrying gas from Egypt through the northern Sinai to Israel and Jordan has been hit by an explosion. It is the third attack on a pipeline in Sinai since February, when a popular uprising toppled President Hosni Mubarak.

Sources told AsiaNews that pro-Palestinian Islamic extremists placed the bomb to force Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to change the country’s policy towards Israel.

The pipeline (pictured) began supplying Israel with gas in 2008. It was made possible by the 1978 accords signed in Camp David (US). Under the deal, Egypt will sell natural gas to Israel for 20 years at a preferential rate.

“Extremists want an end to the Camp David accords,” sources said. “They want to force the government to break ties with Israel developed under Mubarak’s regime.”

Another reason is the rising cost of natural gas. “After the Jasmine Revolution, the military government reduced domestic supplies, causing prices to rise,” sources said. “Various Islamic groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, have criticised Mubarak’s concessions to Western governments and Israel, demanding they be terminated.”

Four months since the fall of Egypt’s strongman, the country is still unstable.

Yesterday, 12 people were hurt in Tahrir Square during a demonstration to commemorate the victims of the Jasmine Revolution.

Clashes were provoked by some local merchants, who attacked demonstrators backed by Islamic extremist groups, media reported.

In Upper Egypt, clashes between Copts and Muslims continue. On 30 June, hundreds of Muslim extremists set fire to Christian-owned homes in Kolosna (Minya). About ten people were injured.

Meanwhile, the trial of 48 extremists began. They were involved in Christian-Muslim clashes that left 12 people dead in Cairo in May. (S.C.)
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