The telecom company says data cables in the Red Sea were cut

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The downed telecommunications cables were reportedly passing under the Red Sea from Saudi Arabia to Djibouti

Several undersea communications cables in the Red Sea were cut, affecting 25% of data traffic flowing between Asia and Europe, a telecom company and a US official said.

Hong Kong-based HGC Global Communications said it had taken measures to reroute traffic after four of the 15 cables were recently cut.

The reason is not yet clear.

The US official said he was trying to find out whether the cables were cut intentionally or if they were disrupted by an anchor.

Last month, Yemen's internationally recognized government warned that the Iran-backed Houthi group may sabotage submarine cables in addition to attacking ships at sea.

The Houthis, who control much of the Red Sea coast in western Yemen, denied last week that they had targeted the cables and blamed US and British military strikes for causing any damage to them.

US and British forces targeted Houthi weapons and infrastructure in response to drone and missile attacks on commercial ships passing through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

The Houthis say their attacks are a show of support for the Palestinians in the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

It added that an estimated 25% of traffic was affected, noting that about 80% of westbound traffic from Asia passed through the cables.

HGC said it has taken measures to mitigate any disruption to its customers by rerouting data to Europe via cables in mainland China and under the Pacific Ocean to the United States, as well as using remaining cables in the Red Sea.

A Pentagon official confirmed to CBS News, the BBC's US partner, that undersea communications cables in the Red Sea had been cut.

The official said the United States is still trying to determine whether the ship's anchor was intentionally cut or snagged.

Last week, Israeli business website Globes reported that the same four cables running between the Saudi city of Jeddah and Djibouti had been damaged, blaming the Houthis, without providing any evidence. Sky News Arabia, based in the United Arab Emirates, quoted unnamed sources who accused the Houthis of “blowing up” the cables.

The Houthi Ministry of Communications denied these reports.

The ministry said it wanted to confirm recent statements made by Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, in which he said the group did not want to endanger any communications cables.

She added that the decision to “prevent the passage of Israeli ships” through the Red Sea “does not apply to ships belonging to international companies licensed to practice maritime business on cables in Yemeni waters.”

Communications Minister Misfer Al-Numair said on Monday that his ministry “is ready to assist with applications for permits and identification of ships belonging to the Yemeni Navy,” referring to the Houthi naval forces.

Meanwhile, the US military's Central Command said the Houthis fired two anti-ship ballistic missiles at the Swiss-owned, Liberian-flagged container ship MSC Sky 2, in the Gulf of Aden. She added that one of the missiles hit the ship, causing damage but no casualties.

The Houthi military spokesman, Yahya Saree, claimed that the ship is Israeli and that it “will continue to prevent Israeli navigation or those heading to the ports of occupied Palestine.”

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