Last updated: 11 February, 2014

Militants blow up Sinai gas pipeline

Gunmen in Egypt shot dead two policemen in separate attacks in Suez canal cities on Tuesday, while militants blew up a gas pipeline in the restive Sinai peninsula, officials said.

Attacks in the Sinai and violence targeting soldiers and policemen across Egypt have surged since the military’s overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.

In the Suez canal city of Port Said, unknown gunmen on a motorcycle shot dead a police officer, local emergency official Hani Mamdouh told AFP, without elaborating.

Further south, in the city of Ismailia, two unknown gunmen, also on a motorcycle, shot dead a policeman while he was standing at a traffic light, security officials said.

Since January 23, 19 policemen have been killed in militant attacks, according to an AFP tally based on reports by security officials.

Earlier Tuesday, militants planted a bomb under a pipeline that transports gas to an industrial area of the restive Sinai.

No one was injured in the attack south of Al-Arish city, the fourth this year in the peninsula, which borders Israel and the Gaza Strip.

The army has poured troops into the mountainous and underdeveloped region to combat the growing militancy.

Militants had previously forced a halt to gas supplies to Israel and Jordan by repeatedly targeting the pipeline following the 2011 overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.

An attack on January 27 was claimed by an Al-Qaeda inspired group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis or Partisans of Jerusalem.

The group has claimed most of the deadliest attacks in Egypt since the army ousted Morsi, saying that they were in revenge for a deadly crackdown by the security forces on his supporters.

More than 1,4000 people have been killed in the crackdown, according to Amnesty International, and thousands jailed.