Onlookers stand in front of a fire ball following an attack on a gas pipeline in northern Sinai on February 5.

Story highlights

The pipeline carries gas from Egypt to Israel and Jordan

State news agency blames the attack on unknown militants

There are no immediate reports of injuries

Cairo CNN  — 

Massive flames shot into the sky over northern Sinai on Saturday after a section of a pipeline that carries gas from Egypt to Israel and Jordan exploded, according to a security official in the region.

The explosion occurred near the northern Sinai city of Arish, said General Saleh Elmasry, head of North Sinai Security. Egypt’s state-run Middle East News Agency attributed the cause of the blast to unknown militants.

Emergency crews were heading to the scene of the explosion, Elmasry said. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The blast is the latest in a series of attacks on the pipeline in recent months.

The Egyptian army and police announced in August that they were cracking down on terror groups in the area believed to be carrying out the attacks.

Israel receives about 40% of its natural gas from Egypt.

The pipeline between Egypt and Israel became operational in 2008 and the arrangement represents one of the major economic agreements between the two countries.

The issue of gas sales to Israel has become highly controversial in Egypt with various allegations circulating that Israel received below market prices for the gas and that Egyptian government officials enriched themselves on the deal.

The Israeli government and Israeli investors in the pipeline have categorically denied receiving below market pricing for the gas.

CNN’s Amir Ahmed contributed to this report.