A natural gas pipeline carrying natural gas from Egypt to Jordan through Sinai Peninsula has been hit by an explosion, state TV and witnesses said.

Attacks on police and soldiers have recently surged in Sinai, where al-Qaeda linked groups are located, following President Mohamed Morsi's overthrow by a military coup.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the pipeline and checkpoint attacks in the region or if they were in reaction to removal of Morsi from his post on Wednesday.

The pipeline, which supplies gas to Jordan, has been attacked more than 10 times since former president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011.

Five security officers were killed at their checkpoints in Sinai on Friday and four other checkpoints were attacked on Saturday.

A priest was killed at one checkpoint by a group of armed men, according to security sources.

Egypt has been in turmoil since the overthrow of Morsi, with supporters and opponents of the ousted president engaging in deadly clashes.

The country has struggled to control the security in the peninsula since Mubarak's departure. Hard-line groups took advantage of the collapse of security that followed and launched many attacks on army and police troops there.

Source: Agencies