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Iran blames Israeli sabotage for gas pipeline blasts

IRAN blamed Israeli sabotage today for multiple explosions that damaged an Iranian natural gas pipeline last week.

The “explosion of the gas pipeline was an Israeli plot,” Oil Minister Javad Owji said, according to Iran's state-run Irna news agency. “The enemy intended to disturb gas service in the provinces and put people’s gas distribution at risk.

“The evil action and plot by the enemy was properly managed,” he added.

Israel has not acknowledged carrying out the attack, though it rarely claims responsibility for secret missions abroad.

The February 14 blasts hit a natural gas pipeline running from Iran’s western Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province up north to cities on the Caspian Sea. The roughly 790-mile pipeline begins in Asaluyeh, a hub for Iran’s offshore South Pars gas field.

Mr Owji earlier compared the attack to a series of mysterious assaults on gas pipelines in 2011.

Israel has previously carried out attacks in Iran, predominantly targeting Tehran’s nuclear programme.

In the Syrian capital Damascus, a suspected Israeli strike killed two people today in a district a where other likely Israeli attacks have targeted members of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.

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