UN-recognised government and telecoms firms speak of threat to digital infrastructure, with some cables lying 100m below surface
Telecom firms linked to the UN-recognised Yemen government have said they fear Houthi rebels are planning to sabotage a network of submarine cables in the Red Sea critical to the functioning of the western internet and the transmission of financial data.
The warning came after a Houthi-linked Telegram channel published a map of the cables running along the bed of the Red Sea. The image was accompanied by a message: “There are maps of international cables connecting all regions of the world through the sea. It seems that Yemen is in a strategic location, as internet lines that connect entire continents – not only countries – pass near it.”
Yemen Telecom said it had made both diplomatic and legal efforts during the past few years to persuade global international telecom alliances not to have any dealings with the Houthis since it would provide a terrorist group with knowledge of how the submarine cables operated. It has been estimated that the Red Sea carries about 17% of the world’s internet traffic along fibre pipes.