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Gas pipeline attacked, Syria says

BEIRUT — Rebels blew up a natural gas pipeline in eastern Syria on Monday, disrupting distribution, officials said.

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.

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The news agency said the blast 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 Tanak oil field, also in eastern Syria.

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

‘‘The armed terrorist groups targeted the productive and service institutions and caused huge damage to the national economy and the daily life of the citizens,’’ he said.

Halqi said the government was trying to reopen oil facilities to provide for Syrian’s needs.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an antiregime activist group, said rebels were clashing with government forces near several military bases in the country’s north as well as in the central city of Homs and in suburbs southeast of the capital, Damascus.

Heavy fighting also was reported in the Damascus neighborhood of Daraya.

Activists said 11 opposition fighters were killed Monday in the Damascus suburb of Moadamiyeh, and eight people, including four children and one woman, were killed in government shelling on the Marjah area of Aleppo.

Rebels have made gains in recent months, though few expect the war to end soon.

An international plan to end the civil war with a cease-fire and the formation of a transitional government has gone nowhere, mostly because both sides still seek a military victory and rebels have refused to negotiate unless Assad is removed from office.

Regime foes say more than 45,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March 2011.

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