The airstrike was reportedly on TeleYemen site Hudaida, which has a monopoly on the country's internet, and caused several injuries and deaths.

TeleYemen is currently run by the Houthi rebels who have held Yemen's capital, Sanaa, since late 2014.
TeleYemen is currently run by the Houthi rebels who have held Yemen's capital, Sanaa, since late 2014. (Reuters Archive)

Yemen has lost its connection to the internet nationwide after Saudi-led air strikes targeted a site in the contested city of Hudaida, plunging the war-torn nation offline.

The disruption began around 1AM local on Friday and affected TeleYemen, the state-owned monopoly that controls internet access in the country, advocacy group NetBlocks said.

Yemen was “in the midst of a nation-scale internet blackout following air strike on (a) telecom building,” NetBlocks said, without immediately elaborating.

The San Diego-based Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis and San Francisco-based internet firm CloudFlare also noted a nationwide outage affecting Yemen beginning around the same time.

The Houthi's Al Masirah satellite news channel said the strike on the telecommunications building had killed and wounded people. 

It released chaotic footage of people digging through rubble for a body as gunshots could be heard. Aid workers assisted bloodied survivors.

READ MORE: Houthi general among civilians killed in Saudi-led strikes in Yemen

Attack on Hudaida's port 

The Saudi-led coalition battling the Houthi rebels acknowledged carrying out “accurate air strikes to destroy the capabilities of the militia” around Hudaida's port.

It did not immediately acknowledge striking a telecommunication target as NetBlocks described, but instead called Hudaida a hub for piracy and Iranian arms smuggling to back the Houthis.

The undersea FALCON cable carries internet into Yemen through the Hodeida port along the Red Sea for TeleYemen.

The FALCON cable has another landing in Yemen's far eastern port of Ghaydah as well, but the majority of Yemen's population lives in its west along the Red Sea.

A cut to the FALCON cable in 2020 caused by a ship's anchor also caused widespread internet outages in Yemen.

Land cables to Saudi Arabia have been cut since the start of Yemen's civil war, while connections to two other undersea cables have yet to be made amid the conflict, TeleYemen previously said.

READ MORE: UN expresses ‘deep concern’ over escalating conflict in Yemen

Source: TRTWorld and agencies