Syria says rebels attack gas pipeline

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BEIRUT — Syria has blamed rebels for blowing up a natural gas pipeline today in the country’s oil-rich east, disrupting distribution.

A statement carried by Syria’s state news agency blamed a “terrorist group,” the regime’s description of rebels seeking to topple President Bashar Assad.

The news agency said the blast today some 18 miles north of Deir el-Zour caused the loss of around 1.5 million cubic meters of gas. It quoted an Oil Ministry official as saying the station fed electricity plants and a fertilizer factory and that engineers were repairing the leak.

Rebels have repeatedly targeted Syria’s oil infrastructure in an effort to sap government finances. Last week, they reported seizing the al-Tanak oil field, also in eastern Syria.

In Damascus, Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi acknowledged the difficulties to the Cabinet today, blaming them on “unfair” international sanctions on Syria and rebel attacks on infrastructure.

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