Blast hits natural gas pipeline in Egypt's North Sinai

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CAIRO (Reuters) - A blast hit the Al Arish-Al Qantara natural gas pipeline in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Thursday, witnesses and local authorities said.

Witnesses said flames and thick plumes of smoke rose from the pipeline, describing the scene from vantage points in and around the city of al-Arish.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the blast on its Telegram channel without providing evidence.

North Sinai local authorities said in a statement the fire had been extinguished and it had not affected gas supplies.

The scale of the damage was not immediately clear.

(Reporting by Yusri Mohamed; Editing by Edmund Blair and David Evans)