Houthi Attack Severes Underwater Data Cables In Red Sea

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  • Houthi rebels have reportedly severed three critical underwater cables beneath the Red Sea, disrupting global telecommunications and internet connectivity.
  • The incident raises concerns about the cables being targeted in an alleged Houthi campaign to pressure Israel, while a separate missile strike in the Gulf of Aden adds to maritime tensions.

Cable Severance and Houthi Campaign

On March 6, 2024, officials confirmed the severance of three underwater cables in the Red Sea, impacting global telecommunications and internet connectivity. The incident is suspected to be part of an alleged Houthi campaign aimed at pressuring Israel to cease its operations in the Gaza Strip. Despite Houthi denials, concerns about intentional targeting persist.

Disruption to Global Shipping and Telecommunications

The damaged cables include AsiaAfricaEurope 1, Seacom, TGNGulf, and the Europe India Gateway, constituting 25% of the Red Sea’s traffic. This disruption significantly affects global shipping, as the Red Sea serves as a vital route for energy and cargo shipments from the Middle East and Asia to Europe. Telecommunication lines being compromised further escalates the monthslong crisis in the region.

Ongoing Regional Conflicts and Attacks

Amid over a month and a half of USled airstrikes, the Houthis have continued launching attacks, including the recent sinking of a cargo vessel and a missile strike in the Gulf of Aden. The group insists on persisting with its attacks until Israel halts its Gaza Strip operations. The attack on a vessel allegedly affiliated with Israel raises maritime security concerns in the region.

Uncertainties Surrounding Cable Attack and Future Implications

The method employed by the Houthis to directly attack the subsea cables remains unknown. Questions arise about the rebels’ capabilities to target cables extending hundreds of meters beneath the waterway’s surface. Anchors, likely dropped from ships crippled in attacks, are known to cut subsea cables. The article concludes by highlighting the uncertainties surrounding the cable attack and its potential longterm implications on global connectivity and maritime operations.

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Source: Marine Insight