JERUSALEM (JTA) – Egypt’s gas pipeline to Israel was attacked for the 12th time in a year.
Sunday’s attack near El Arish in the northern Sinai Peninsula came after masked gunmen planted explosives under the pipeline, security officials told the French news agency AFP. The pipeline also supplies gas to Jordan.
Gas delivery was halted after the attack. The supply of gas to Israel has been halted numerous times in the last year, leading to a scramble to find alternate fuel sources to produce electricity, which are more expensive.
Egypt supplies Israel with more than 40 percent of its natural gas needs to produce electricity; electricity prices have risen by more than 10 percent in Israel since the attacks began.
The first attack on the pipeline came in February 2011 during uprisings against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who has been deposed.
Selling gas to Israel has been unpopular on the Egyptian street since the opening of the pipeline in 2008. Mubarak has been accused of giving Israel a sweetheart deal on the gas, since Egypt lost more than $714 million on the pact.
Jordan in October agreed to pay double what it previously paid for gas from Egypt, Reuters reported. Egypt is expected to demand that Israel also agree to a major price hike.
Also Sunday, Israel’s Delek Group Ltd. said that it has discovered what it estimates to be nearly 1.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in Israeli waters near the Lebanese border. Delek is working in cooperation with the U.S. company Noble Energy.