Yemen gas pipeline hit by overnight blast

AFP , Sunday 16 Dec 2012

In southern Yemen, attackers using explosive overnight sabotage a gas pipeline again

Attackers using explosives overnight have again sabotaged a gas pipeline in southern Yemen, the energy operator and security officials said on Sunday.

Yemen LNG said in a statement posted on its Internet site that the blast occurred shortly after midnight, but it did not give details on any injuries or damage, or say whether the pipeline was shut down.

"Yemen LNG confirms the sabotage of the 38-inch gas pipeline that links the block 18 to the Balhaf terminal on the Gulf of Aden. The sabotage occurred at 00:35 hrs (2235 GMT Saturday) on 16th December, 2012 at 173 km north of Balhaf," it said.

A Yemeni official, asking not to be identified, told AFP that unknown assailants "placed an explosive charge at pipeline level" in the Al-Zahira area of Shabwa province, causing a shutdown.

Similar explosions struck gas pipelines that also feed the Balhaf terminal in October, September, August, May and March, the latter forcing the suspension of gas exports for three weeks.

Gas and oil pipelines have been a regular target for sabotage attacks in the impoverished southern Arabian Peninsula nation, which relies on its modest exports as a main source of revenue.

The attacks -- blamed on Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP or on tribes seeking to pressure the government -- have become more frequent in the wake of the 2011 popular uprising that forced out veteran strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh.

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