Houthi forces sabotage four undersea internet cables, disrupting Europe-Asia comms

The destruction of these cables, valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, is expected to necessitate months of repair work.

Houthi forces sabotage four undersea internet cables, disrupting Europe-Asia comms
AP Photo/Osamah Abdulrahman
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Houthi forces, supported by Iran, have allegedly sabotaged four subsea cables in the Red Sea, stretching from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to Djibouti, East Africa.

The cables, which are integral to the AAE-1, Seacom, EIG, and TGN networks, play a crucial role in facilitating communications between Europe and Asia, per a report from Israel's Globes publication. The destruction has led to significant communication disruptions, with the Gulf states and India experiencing the most severe impacts.

The destruction of these cables, valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, is expected to necessitate months of repair work. However, sourcing repair firms willing to operate in the region presents a challenge due to the potential threat of attacks by Islamic militants. Over the past four months, there have been at least 48 assaults by the Houthis on merchant ships in the area, affecting the commercial activities of about 55 countries worldwide that rely on the Red Sea for their trade routes.

The Houthis' persistent assaults on subsea cables are seemingly bolstered by what is perceived as President Joe Biden's ineffective reaction to their attacks on maritime vessels, including those owned by American companies. The Biden administration's approach to counteracting the Houthi aggression has primarily consisted of collaborative military operations alongside the United Kingdom, with additional support coming from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand.

Late last week, it was reported that the U.S. and U.K. conducted 18 strikes against Houthi targets in the latest series of coalition actions. However, there has been little to no release of footage from these strikes to the media.

“The targets included Houthi underground weapons storage facilities, missile storage facilities, one-way attack unmanned aerial systems, air defense systems, radars, and a helicopter,” U.S. Central Command said in a statement. “These strikes are intended to degrade Houthi capability and disrupt their continued reckless and unlawful attacks on international commercial and U.S. and U.K. vessels in the Red Sea, Bab AI-Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden.”

The statement noted that the Houthi attacks have “disrupted humanitarian aid bound for Yemen, harmed Middle Eastern economies, and caused environmental damage.”

These strikes were separate from the international efforts aimed at safeguarding maritime navigation under Operation Prosperity Guardian. This operation involves a coalition of countries committed to ensuring the safety of merchant ships intending to navigate through the Suez Canal.

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