Thursday, July 7, 2022

Advocacy group: Internet shutdown in Yemen after airstrikes

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates ( Associated Press) – Yemen nationwide lost its connection to the internet after Saudi-led airstrikes took the war-torn nation offline, an advocacy group said.

Netblox said the disruption started at around 1 p.m. locally and influenced Teleman, the state-owned monopoly that controlled Internet access in the country. Teliaman is now run by Houthi rebels, who have held Yemen’s capital Sanaa since late 2014.

Netblox said Yemen “was in the midst of a nation-level internet blackout following the airstrikes on (a) Telecom Building,” without immediately elaborating. The San Diego-based Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis also began a nationwide outage affecting Yemen around the same time.

The Saudi-led coalition battling the Houthi rebels who have captured Yemen’s capital Sanaa admitted to carrying out “precision air strikes to destroy the capabilities of the militias” around the port of Hodeida. As described by NetBlox, it did not immediately admit to striking a telecommunications target, but instead called Hodeida a center for piracy and Iranian arms smuggling to back the Houthis.

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The Undersea Falcon Cable carries internet along the Red Sea to Yemen via Hodeida port. The FALCON cable has another landing in Yemen’s Far Eastern port of Ghayda, but most of the country’s population lives along the Red Sea to its west.

In 2020 the FALCON cable cut due to a ship’s anchorage also caused widespread internet shutdowns in Yemen. Teleman previously said that the land cable to Saudi Arabia had been cut since the start of Yemen’s civil war, while connections to two other undersea cables had not yet been made amid the conflict.

The Saudi-led coalition entered Yemen’s war in 2015 to support its ousted government. The war has morphed into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with international criticism of Saudi airstrikes killing civilians and targeting the country’s infrastructure. Meanwhile, the Houthis have used child soldiers and indiscriminately planted landmines across the country.

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War reached the United Arab Emirates, a Saudi ally, on Monday after the Houthis claimed a drone and missile strike on Abu Dhabithree killed and six injured.


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