ISMAILIA, Egypt (Reuters) ? Saboteurs blew up a pipeline carrying gas from Egypt to Israel and Jordan Monday, forcing a shutdown in the flow of gas, Egyptian security sources said.
The explosion took place in the early morning at a station along the pipeline in the northern Sinai Peninsula at Bir Abd, 60 km east of the Suez Canal, the sources said.
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.
"We do not have sufficient information until now, but in principle the explosion happened in the same way that the two previous explosions happened," another security source told Reuters.
The natural gas company that runs the pipeline closed it down after the explosion, the source said.
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.
Previous explosions closed on April 27 and February 5 closed the pipeline for weeks.
The pipeline is run by Gasco, Egypt's gas transport company which is a subsidiary of the national gas company EGAS.
(Reporting by Yusri Mohamed, Writing by Patrick Werr; Editing by Angus MacSwan)