Houthis Have Knocked Out Several Undersea Internet Cables

According to Al Mayadeen News, the Houthis have knocked out several undersea internet cables, causing significant damage, particularly in the Gulf countries and India.

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In a new statement released on Tuesday, the Houthi military spokesman categorically rejected any plans to destroy underwater regional internet connections. He did, however, restate that the main objective of the Iran-affiliated group is to obstruct supplies and commercial shipments to Israel.

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The complete statement, as reported by Al Mayadeen News, is as follows: “We are eager to eliminate any hazards associated with any cables and their services, as well as to provide the facilities required for their upkeep. The international businesses licensed to perform marine cable work do not have their ships included in the decision to block Israeli ships from passing.”

There have been numerous reports over the last two days regarding the damage to up to four underwater communications cables in the Red Sea region, which connects the state of Djibouti and the Saudi city of Jeddah. Following reports that emerged in Israeli media sources, the operator Seacom reported connectivity issues, as we detailed below. On Monday, Sky News Arabia also reported on the stories.

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There has been conjecture for some months on the possibility of global fiber optic line sabotage in the Red Sea waters, which have been the target of regular Houthi attacks on Western alliance warships and international shipping. However, given that it would probably require submarine or deep sea equipment and capabilities—which the Houthis most likely lack—such a sabotage campaign would be challenging to execute.

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The Jerusalem Post, one of the first Israeli media outlets to report on the alleged destruction of multiple cables, may have been anticipating a covert campaign backed by Iran. The New York Post was among the US media outlets that swiftly published the reports.

According to recent reports, the Houthis in Yemen are believed to have destroyed multiple underwater cables that connect Europe and Asia; however, there are still differing claims regarding the exact degree of the damage.

According to several Israeli outlets on Monday, Houthi sabotage has recently caused damage to four underwater communications cables that connect Saudi Arabia and Djibouti. The financial newspaper Globes in Israel appears to be the source of the reporting.

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“One cable operator has confirmed damage to a cable in the region, but said it didn’t know the cause yet,” a warning issued by an industry journal. According to reports, only the Seacom operator has acknowledged that it has experienced cable problems in Djibouti.

As reported by the Israeli media:

Three months after the Houthis began attacking merchant ships, the Yemenite rebels have carried out another one of their threats. “Globes” has learned that four submarine communication cables have been damaged in the Red Sea between Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and Djibouti in East Africa.

According to the reports, these are cables from the companies AAE-1, Seacom, EIG and TGN. This is causing serious disruption of Internet communications between Europe and Asia, with the main damage being felt in the Gulf countries and India.

The businesses Tata, Ooredoo, Bharti Airtel, and Telecom Egypt operate other affected cables, however, they have not yet responded to reports of damage or outages.

However, NetBlocks has now confirmed the Seacom outage.

Repairs, according to Israel’s Globes, might take up to eight weeks, but the region’s waterways are still dangerous because of the Houthi attacks on Red Sea vessels, which occur daily. Recently, the Houthis have implied that they may destroy the underwater fiber optic lines.

“The repair of such a large number of underwater cables may take at least eight weeks according to estimates and involve exposure to risk from the Houthi terror organization,” the report says. “The telecommunications companies will be forced to look for companies that will agree to carry out the repair work and probably pay them a high risk premium.”

“Trained divers/ship anchors are enough to damage them at low depths,” according to analyst Alberto Rizzi, and “Bab-el-Mandeb/Aden is a chokepoint where damage can impact multiple cables at once.”

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