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Explosion shuts down oil pipeline in Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — An explosion and fire have shut down a pipeline that carries oil from Iraq to world markets, an official said Saturday. No one was hurt in the blast.

The explosion late Friday hit a section of a pipeline that takes oil from the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk to Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, near the southeastern town of Midyat, said an Energy Ministry official. A second line that runs parallel was not damaged, but was also briefly shut down as a precaution, the official said.

The two pipelines carry about 25 million tons of crude oil a year.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of government rules, said the cause of the blast was under investigation but was most likely the result of sabotage. Kurdish rebels, fighting for autonomy in Turkey’s Kurdish-dominated southeast, have bombed the pipeline before, cutting oil flows from Iraq for days.

Firefighters put out the blaze by Saturday afternoon, the official said, adding that repairs to the pipeline were about to begin. It was not clear when oil flows to Ceyhan would resume.

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