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(LEAD) S. Korean oil pipeline bombed in southern Yemen

All Headlines 23:13 November 02, 2010

(ATTN: CHANGES lead; UPDATES with reports on suspect in 5th para)

DUBAI, Nov. 2 (Yonhap) -- An explosion hit a South Korean oil pipeline in southern Yemen on Tuesday in an apparent bomb attack by Al-Qaeda militants, local authorities and company officials said.

The explosion caused a leak in the 204-kilometer pipeline operated by the state-owned Korea National Oil Corp. (KNOC) in an oil field in Shabwa province, which produces 10,000 barrels of oil a day, the officials noted. The extent of damage has not yet been confirmed.

Local authorities suspect the explosion was caused by unknown attackers as remains of explosives were found near the site.

Dubai-based Al-Arabiya news reported that Al-Qaeda may have been behind the explosion by possibly planting an explosive device under the pipeline and detonating it from a distance, citing an unidentified Yemeni security official.

According to an AFP report, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the local branch of Bin Laden's network, claimed responsibility for the bomb plot.

Yemen, a small oil producer, has been the target of attacks on its oil installations for the past several years by tribesmen locked in disputes with authorities and terrorist groups.

KNOC has been developing oil fields on four sites in Yemen since 2007, officials noted.

The Korean embassy in Yemen said it is looking in to the cause of the incident in cooperation with Yemeni military and police.

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