SANAA (Reuters) - Al Qaeda militants blew up Yemen's only gas export pipeline on Monday, local officials said, in a further blow to a moribund but vital piece of infrastructure for an impoverished country battered by 20 months of war.

 

The explosion occurred in the remote desert area of al-Uqla in the southern province of Shabwa, the officials said, and severed the link between Yemen's gas-producing Marib region and the export terminal of Balhaf on the Arabian Sea.

 

Oil and gas once accounted for most of Yemen's state revenue before a civil war and military intervention led by Saudi Arabia halted their export and unleashed a humanitarian crisis.

 

(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Noah Browning; editing by Mark Heinrich)