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Explosion hits Turkey-Iran gas pipeline

While no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, it is suspected PKK members are behind the blast on the Turkey-Iran gas pipeline
Kurdish fighters detonate a landmine on the outskirts of Sinjar on 15 January (AFP)

An explosion hit an Iran-Turkey natural gas pipeline in the eastern Turkish province of Agri, according to the Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Ministry.

The suspected sabotage attack took place in the Dogubeyazit district, about 15 kilometres from the border with Iran, the Anadolu news agency quoted Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz as saying in a statement late on Monday.

No one has immediately claimed responsibility for the blast but local media reported that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) is behind the attack.  

"The explosion caused a fire breakout; however, in a short time we managed to extinguish it. After repairing it, the gas flow will resume," Yildiz said.

He added that necessary measures would be taken to meet the area’s natural gas demand until the pipeline is repaired.

Repairs on the pipeline were under way, but it was not clear when the flow would be resumed, an official at Turkey's state pipeline operator Botas said.

Iran is Turkey’s second-biggest gas supplier after Russia.

The attack late on Monday came amid a spike in violence in recent weeks.

Turkey last week launched raids against Kurdish rebel bases in northern Iraq, at the same time that it began cracking down on the Islamic State group as well.

The launch of the military campaign against IS and PKK positions followed an IS attack in the southwestern Turkish town of Suruc, which claimed the lives of at least 32 people on 20 July. 

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