Explosion at gas pipeline in Egypt's Sinai causes fire

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CAIRO (AP) — An explosion at a natural gas pipeline in Egypt's restive northern Sinai Peninsula caused a fire but little other damage and there were no casualties, a senior military official said.

Gen. Mohamed Abdel Fadil Shousha, in charge of the northern part of the peninsula, said all the pipeline valves were promptly sealed off to control the fire that erupted after Thursday's blast.

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

The Islamic State group posted a statement on its website claiming responsibility for the explosion. It said IS militants detonated several explosive devices to damage a pipeline that carries natural gas from Egypt to Israel. The group offered no proof for its claim.

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

Authorities heavily restrict access to northern Sinai, making it difficult to verify claims related to the fighting.

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