Internet collapses in war-torn Yemen over ‘maintenance’ after Houthi attacks targeting Israel, US

by Lucas Garcia
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Internet Outage in Yemen

Following the recent Houthi insurgent attacks on Israel and the United States, Yemen experienced a widespread internet shutdown on Friday. This disruption in internet connectivity, which impacted YemenNet, the primary internet provider serving approximately 10 million users, occurred after the country’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels targeted both nations.

YemenNet’s services were completely halted early in the day, causing a national-scale connectivity issue. Internet outage watchdog NetBlocks and internet company CloudFlare confirmed the disruption but did not specify its cause. CloudFlare acknowledged the significant impact on nationwide connectivity.

Hours into the outage, YemenNet partially restored its services, though issues persisted. Yemen’s Public Telecom Corporation, now under Houthi control, attributed the disruption to unplanned maintenance activities, according to a statement released via the Houthi-managed SABA state news agency. An anonymous official assured that services would resume post-maintenance.

This incident follows a previous disruption in January 2022, when the Saudi-led coalition, engaged in combat with the Houthis, bombed a telecommunications facility in Hodeida. The current outage had no immediate connection to such an attack.

The FALCON undersea cable, managed by GCX, facilitates Yemen’s internet connectivity via the Hodeida and Ghaydah ports. Despite its strategic importance, GCX did not comment on the situation.

The outage coincided with a surge in Houthi attacks, including drone and missile strikes against Israel amid its offensive in Gaza, and the downing of an American MQ-9 Reaper drone. These incidents have heightened concerns about escalating regional conflicts.

Yemen has been embroiled in conflict since 2014 following the Houthi seizure of Sanaa and northern regions, leading to a Saudi-Iran proxy war, with the U.S. initially aiding Saudi Arabia. However, backlash over civilian casualties in Saudi airstrikes led to reduced U.S. involvement, though it is speculated that the U.S. still conducts drone strikes against Al-Qaida in Yemen.

The ongoing war has claimed over 150,000 lives, including both combatants and civilians, and has precipitated a severe humanitarian crisis. Despite a fragile ceasefire expiring last October, a permanent peace solution remains elusive, with indications of escalating Houthi attacks.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Yemen Internet Outage

What caused the recent internet outage in Yemen?

The internet outage in Yemen was attributed to unannounced maintenance by Yemen’s Public Telecom Corporation, following a series of Houthi rebel attacks on Israel and the U.S.

How extensive was the internet disruption in Yemen?

The disruption, impacting YemenNet, Yemen’s main internet provider, caused a nationwide outage, affecting approximately 10 million users.

Who confirmed the internet outage in Yemen?

NetBlocks and CloudFlare, two organizations that monitor internet outages, confirmed the disruption in Yemen but did not specify its cause.

What was the response of the company operating the undersea cable providing internet to Yemen?

GCX, the company operating the FALCON undersea cable, which facilitates Yemen’s internet connectivity, did not respond to a request for comment regarding the outage.

Has Yemen experienced similar internet outages in the past?

Yes, a previous outage occurred in January 2022 when the Saudi-led coalition bombed a telecommunications building in Hodeida. However, there was no immediate indication of a similar attack causing the recent outage.

What is the background of the conflict in Yemen?

The conflict in Yemen began in 2014 with the Houthi seizure of Sanaa, escalating into a regional proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, with the U.S. initially providing support to Saudi Arabia. The war has resulted in over 150,000 deaths and a severe humanitarian crisis.

More about Yemen Internet Outage

  • Yemen’s Internet Outage Following Houthi Attacks
  • Impact of YemenNet’s Service Disruption
  • NetBlocks and CloudFlare Report on Yemen’s Internet Outage
  • GCX’s Role in Yemen’s Internet Connectivity
  • Historical Context of Internet Outages in Yemen
  • Overview of the Yemen Conflict and its Humanitarian Impact

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