Yemen Encounters Internet Blackout Following Saudi Led Airstrike

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Image Courtesy: Twitter

Highlights:

  • Yemen faced nationwide internet outage following Saudi-led airstrikes aimed at a site in the contested city of Hodeida
  • NetBlocks asserted that the disruption commenced around 1 a.m. local and affected TeleYemen
  • The San Diego based Centre for Applied Internet Data Analysis and San Francisco based Internet firm CloudFare also cited a nationwide outage

On Friday, Yemen lost its internet connection nationwide following Saudi-led airstrikes aimed at a site in the contested city of Hodeida, forcing the war-torn nation offline, an advocacy group stated.

NetBlocks asserted that the disruption commenced around 1 a.m. local and affected TeleYemen, the state-owned monopoly that regulates internet access in the country. TeleYemen is now operated by the Houthi rebels who have held Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, since late 2014.

NetBlocks added, “Yemen was in the midst of a nation-scale internet blackout following an airstrike on (a) telecom building.” The San Diego-based Centre for Applied Internet Data Analysis and San Francisco-based Internet firm CloudFare also cited a nationwide outage affecting the nation around the aforesaid time.

The Saudi-headed coalition battling the Houthi rebels admits conducting “accurate airstrikes to destroy the capabilities of the militia” around Hodeida’s port. However, it did immediately concede striking a telecommunication target as NetBlocks narrated but instead called Hodeida a hub for piracy and Iranian arms smuggling to back the Houthis.

The undersea FALCON cable provides internet into Yemen through the Hodeida port along the Red Sea for TeleYemen. The FALCON cable has another landing in Yemen’s far eastern port of Ghaydah as well, however, evidently, the majority of Yemen’s population resides in its west along the Red Sea. A cut to the FALCON cable in 2020 caused by a ship anchor also led to a widespread internet outage in the nation.

A Saudi-led coalition entered Yemen’s war in 2015 to support its ousted government. The war has emerged into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with international criticism of Saudi airstrikes claiming the lives of civilians and aiming at the country’s infrastructure. The war reached into the UAE, a Saudi ally, on Monday, when the Houthis carried out a drone and missile attack on Abu Dhabi, slaying three and wounding six.

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