While tens of thousands of protesters are amassing in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the Sinai Peninsula is heating up.
Egyptian security forces on Friday raised the alert level to an unprecedented level in the al-Arish area in northern Sinai after they received information that Jihad members are planning on carrying out an attack on the local security headquarters, the Ma'an news agency reported Friday.
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According to the information they received, some 2,500 Jihad and additional radical faction members were equipped with "unconventional weapons" and had gathered large quantities of ammunition. The operatives prepared a plan to attack the al-Arish security directorate, the central prison and other official buildings.
The purpose of the attack, according to the report, was vengeance on Egyptian authorities for thwarting a previous plan to attack Sinai and drive away security forces.
The reports come after saboteurs blew up a gas pipeline 60 km (37 miles) west of the Egyptian town of al-Arish in northern Sinai earlier on Friday, the latest in series of attacks, state news agency MENA reported.
The blast caused little damage and did not start a fire because little gas was flowing through the pipeline at the time due to repair work from a previous attack, MENA said.
The pipeline, which supplies gas to Egypt and Jordan, was last attacked on Nov. 10. The latest was the seventh since the revolt that ousted President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11, although the pipeline was first attacked a few days earlier.
No group has claimed responsibility for the sabotage.
Egypt has a 20-year deal to export natural gas deal to Israel. It is unpopular with the Egyptian public and critics say Jewish state was not paying enough for the gas.
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