3 data cables were cut in the Red Sea as the Houthis launched more attacks in the vital waterway

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Three cables under the Red Sea that provide global internet and communications have been cut as the waterway remains a target of security forces. The Houthis in YemenMonday, officials said. Meanwhile, a Houthi missile attack set a ship on fire in the Gulf of Aden, causing no casualties.

What cut the lines remains unclear. There have been concerns about the cables being targeted in the Houthi campaign, which the rebels have described as an attempt to pressure Israel to end its blockade. The war on Hamas In the Gaza Strip. But the Houthis denied attacking the lines.

While global shipping traffic through the Red Sea, a critical route for cargo and energy shipments from Asia and the Middle East to Europe, has already been disrupted, sabotage of communications lines could exacerbate the months-long crisis.

Hong Kong-based HGC Global Communications said the disconnected lines include Asia, Africa, Europe 1, Europe-India Gateway, Seacom and TGN Gulf. The reductions were described as affecting 25% of traffic flowing through the Red Sea. It described the Red Sea Route as crucial for transferring data from Asia to Europe and said it had begun redirecting traffic.

HGC Global Communications described the Seacom-TGN-Gulf line as two separate cables when it is actually one in the cutoff area, according to Tim Strong, a submarine cable expert at TeleGeography, a Washington-based communications market research firm.

In response to questions from the Associated Press, SECOM said, “Initial tests indicate that the affected part is located within the Yemeni maritime areas in the southern Red Sea.” It said it was rerouting the traffic it was able to change, although some services were down.

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Tata Communications, part of the Indian conglomerate behind the Seacom-TGN-Gulf line, told the Associated Press that it “initiated immediate and appropriate remedial measures” after the line was cut.

“We are investing in different cable federations to increase our diversity, so in such situations involving cable outage or failure, we can automatically reroute our services,” Tata said.

The other companies behind the pipelines, which provide data to Africa, Asia and the Middle East, did not respond to AP inquiries.

In early February, Yemen's internationally recognized government in exile claimed that the Houthis planned to attack the cables. The lines appear to have been cut on February 24, with NetBlocks noting that internet access in the East African country of Djibouti suffered an outage two days later. Seacom serves Djibouti.

But the Houthis, for their part, denied targeting the cables. The rebels blamed the unrest on British and American military operations, but they have not provided evidence to support this claim and have made false claims in the past.

Since November, rebels have repeatedly targeted ships in the Red Sea and surrounding waters during the war between Israel and Hamas. These ships included at least one with Goods destined for Iranthe main beneficiary of the Houthis, and an aid ship later bound for Houthi-controlled territory.

Despite more than a month and a half of US-led air strikes. The Houthi rebels remained able to do so To launch major attacks. They include the attack last month on a cargo ship carrying fertilizer, the Rubimar, Which sank on Saturday After drifting for several days, and Shooting down an American drone Worth tens of millions of dollars.

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The Houthis insist that their attacks will continue until Israel stops its combat operations in the Gaza Strip, which has angered the wider Arab world and seen the Houthis gain international recognition.

Meanwhile, the British Army's Maritime Trade Operations Center on Monday separately warned of a new attack in the Gulf of Aden. Private security company Ambrey described the target ship as a Liberian-flagged, Israeli-flagged container ship that had suffered damage and issued a distress call.

“The container ship was exposed to two explosions, the first occurred at a distance off a quarter of the port, while the second caused damage to the ship’s accommodation building and the lead container,” Ambre said. He added, “The explosion also led to a fire on board the plane, and the crew's efforts to fight the fires are still underway.”

No crew members were injured in the fire, which was extinguished several hours later, Embry and the UKMTO said.

Dean. Brigadier General Yahya Saree, the Houthi military spokesman, claimed responsibility for the attack in a pre-recorded statement. He identified the ship as the MSC Sky II, sailing for the Swiss-based Mediterranean Shipping Company, but sought to link the ship to Israel. Details of the ship and its last known location are consistent with details of the attack.

Sarie said that the Houthis “will continue to prevent Israeli navigation or those heading to the ports of occupied Palestine until the aggression stops and the siege on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip is lifted.”

The US Navy's 5th Fleet, which patrols the Middle East, and MSC did not respond to questions about the attack.

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It remains unclear how the Houthis could attack submarine cables themselves. The rebels are not known to have the diving or rescue capabilities to target the lines, which lie hundreds of meters below the surface of the waterway.

However, submarine cables can be snapped by anchors, including those dropped from some ships disabled in attacks. A drifting ship with its anchor sweeping out to sea could be the cause.

“Our team believes it is plausible that it may have been affected by the anchor being pulled out, due to the amount of maritime traffic the area is dealing with and the subsidence of the sea floor in many parts of the Red Sea,” Seacom said. “This can only be confirmed after the repair ship arrives at the site.”

Strong, the submarine cable expert, said there are 14 cables currently passing through the Red Sea, and six more cables are planned.

He said: “We estimate that more than 90% of communications between Europe and Asia pass through submarine cables in the Red Sea.” “Fortunately, telecom operators have built a high degree of redundancy into the system – there are many cables crossing the Red Sea.”

The Houthis later warned that any cable-laying ship entering Yemeni waters would need a permit from the rebels “in order to ensure its safety.”

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