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3 Red Sea underwater data cables have been cut amid Houthi attacks

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Three Red Sea underwater cables providing internet and telecommunications around the world have been cut as the waterway remains a target of Yemen’s Houthi terrorists, officials said Monday. Meanwhile, a Houthi missile attack set a ship ablaze in the Gulf of Aden, but caused no injuries.

What cut the lines remains unclear. There has been concern about the cables being targeted in the Houthi campaign, which the terrorists describe as an effort to pressure Israel to end its war on Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip. The Houthis have denied attacking the lines, however.

While global shipping has already been disrupted through the Red Sea, a crucial route for cargo and energy shipments from Asia and the Middle East to Europe, the sabotage of telecommunication lines could further escalate the monthslong crisis.

The cut lines include Asia-Africa-Europe 1, the Europe India Gateway, Seacom and TGN-Gulf, Hong Kong-based HGC Global Communications said. It described the cuts as affecting 25 percent of the traffic flowing through the Red Sea. It described the Red Sea route as crucial for data moving from Asia to Europe and said it had begun rerouting traffic.

HGC Global Communications described the Seacom-TGN-Gulf line as being two separate cables when it is actually one at the area of the cut, according to Tim Stronge, a subsea cable expert with TeleGeography, a Washington-based telecommunications market research company.

Responding to questions from The Associated Press, Seacom said that “initial testing indicates the affected segment lies within Yemeni maritime jurisdictions in the Southern Red Sea.” It said it was rerouting the traffic that it was able to change, though some services were down.

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

“We invest in various cable consortiums to increase our diversity and hence in such situations of a cable cut or snag, we are able to automatically reroute our services,” Tata said.

Other firms behind those lines, which provide data to Africa, Asia and the Middle East, didn’t immediately respond to queries Monday from the AP.

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