Houthis knock out underwater cables linking Europe to Asia - report

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The successful targeting of the four cables, which are believed to belong to the AAE-1, Seacom, EIG, and TGN systems, marks a serious disruption of communications between Europe and Asia.

Four underwater communications cables between
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and Djibouti have been struck out of commission in recent months, presumably as a result of attacks by Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, according to an exclusive
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in the Israeli news site Globes.

The successful targeting of the four cables, which are believed to belong to the AAE-1, Seacom, EIG, and TGN systems, marks a serious disruption of communications between Europe and Asia.

Most of the immediate harm will be absorbed by the
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and India, Globes said.

The AAE-1 cable connects East Asia to Europe via Egypt, connecting China to the West through countries such as Pakistan and Qatar.

The Europe India Gateway (EIG) cable system connects southern Europe to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, the UAE, and India.

The Seacom cable connects Europe, Africa, and India, and is connected to South Africa.

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At least one subsea fiber cable damaged in the Red Sea, some reports blame Houthi rebels

Israeli press say AAE-1, Seacom/TGN, and Europe India Gateway (EIG) damaged by rebels; Seacom confirms issues but not cause

Several subsea cables have reportedly been damaged off the coast of Yemen, with some press suggesting terrorist groups are to blame.
One cable operator has confirmed damage to a cable in the region, but said it didn’t know the cause yet.

Israeli press including the
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and
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suggest four cables - AAE-1, Seacom, Europe India Gateway (EIG), and TGN systems - have been damaged in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen (though Seacom and TGN are actually one system operated by Seacom and Tata Communications).
The publications claim the damage to the cables was a result of attacks by Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. Globes reports repairs could take up to eight weeks.
DCD has been unable to confirm the reports and has reached out to a number of companies involved with the affected cables including Seacom, Tata, Ooredoo, Bharti Airtel, and Telecom Egypt. We will update as we hear back.
Internet monitoring firm NetBlocks confirmed Internet services in Djibouti had been disrupted, possibly due to cable damage.
"Metrics show a disruption to network connectivity at the Djibouti data center which connects the country's landing stations," the company said
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(formerly Twitter).
Seacom, however, has seemingly confirmed in the African press that it is having cable issues, but didn't go so far as to point the blame at any group.
The company said it has suffered an outage on the Seacom/TGN system, telling
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and
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that disruption is affecting the segment of the cable that runs from Mombasa (Kenya) to Zafarana (Egypt).
However, Seacom said it was "unable to confirm the cause of the disruption" and was working to assess the feasibility of the repair in the region.
“The location of the cable break is significant due to its geopolitical sensitivity and ongoing tensions, making it a challenging environment for maintenance and repair operations,” said the company.
Seacom continued: “All other IP-based services destined for Europe and other regions were automatically rerouted via SEACOM’s alternative routes on Equiano, PEACE, and WACS cable systems and supported by its diverse terrestrial infrastructure, ensuring its clients remain operational with some latency in their Internet communications.”
After saying authorities were looking at a possible terror link, Flag Telecom founder and telecoms entrepreneur Sunil Tagare
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on his social media accounts that it was “confirmed” the cables had been cut by Houthis – without saying where the confirmation had come from.
He also posted that no cable ship provider was willing to provide repairs in the area and that insurance companies would cancel policies for cable ships attempting to operate in Yemeni waters. Again, DCD hasn’t been able to confirm these claims.
The Iran-linked Houthis – officially known as Ansar Allah – have been attacking commercial ships passing by Yemeni water since November. More than two dozen ships have been attacked by drones, missiles, and speedboats.
Last year Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) – a think tank founded by a former Israeli Intelligence officer and a political scientist described as a neoconservative and revisionist Zionist on Wikipedia – said Telegram channels reportedly affiliated with the Houthis had
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against subseas cables in the Red Sea.
This news was later picked up in mainstream media worldwide. Government ministries and telecoms firms backed by the UN-recognized government condemned the reported threats to the region’s cable infrastructure, while Houthi-backed
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have labeled the posts “fabricated lies.”
Around 17 cables currently or are planned to run through the Red Sea and link Asia to Europe. Like the Suez Canal in Egypt, the Bab al-Mandab Strait is a natural bottleneck between the Middle East and the coast of Africa.
Also known as the Gate of Grief or the Gate of Tears, the 26 km (14 mi) strait between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula and Djibouti and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden (which leads to the Indian Ocean).
While it reaches a maximum depth of 3,040 m (9,970 ft) in the central Suakin Trough, the Red Sea averages a depth of around 490 m (1,610 ft). At its shallowest, however, some points are at depths of as little as 100 m (330 ft).

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Internet disruptions in GCC states: Did Al Houthi militants blow up Red Sea cables?

Dubai: Internet connectivity across most GCC states has experienced significant slowdown, reportedly due to sabotage activities targeting undersea fiber cables in the Red Sea.

Security sources have attributed these attacks to the Houthi militant group, which has been actively disrupting communication lines off the coast of Yemen, linking the Arabian Peninsula to Africa.

Sky News Arabia quoted sources as saying that the Houthis are responsible for the destruction of communication lines under the Red Sea.

This has led to a considerable interruption in the flow of data between Africa and Europe, affecting a vital cable system operated by the international telecommunications firm SECOM.


The company has confirmed a malfunction in its Red Sea infrastructure, particularly highlighting that a portion of its cable system ceased to operate due to the incident.

The damage involves four submarine communication cables, with estimates suggesting that repairs could extend up to two months.

Although the initial assessment indicated substantial but not critical damage, the incident is expected to disrupt communications significantly between Europe and Asia.


SECOM has acknowledged the disruption but has yet to specify the cause publicly.

Amid these developments, the Houthis have escalated its maritime aggression, launching explosive-laden missiles and drones at commercial vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since November 19 in response to Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip.


The Houthis have also issued warnings to maritime authorities and insurers, declaring a ban on vessels associated with Israel, the United States, and Britain from navigating near the conflicted area.

Meanwhile, US Central Command said its forces destroyed three seaborne drones, an airborne drone and two cruise missiles in Yemen that were being prepared for attacks in the Red Sea.

The strikes on Monday marked the latest effort to avert further assaults on commercial shipping in the vital waterway by the Houthis, an Iran-backed militant group that controls much of the northwest of Yemen.


The drones and antiship missiles “presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and the US Navy ships in the region,” Centcom said in a statement posted on the X social media platform.

Earlier Monday, a South African company said a subsea cable that it controls off the coast of Yemen had been damaged, although the cause has yet to be determined. The cable connects Europe and India.

The Houthis have made threats on social media to sabotage critical undersea cables, but there’s no evidence to suggest that they have been successful.

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