Wed, 25 May 2022

ADEN, Yemen, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- The cut-off of internet services in Yemen continued to paralyze the impoverished Arab country for the fourth consecutive day, deepening the suffering of millions amid a prolonged conflict.

The massive internet blackout that hit Yemen's capital Sanaa and most of the country's provinces last Friday has forced critical services to shut down, which multiplied the woes of the Yemeni people.

The Houthi group, who controls Sanaa and most of the northern provinces, blamed the Saudi Arabia-led coalition for the internet outage after an airstrike targeted a telecommunication center in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.

The group said in a statement that the compound of International Telecommunications and Internet Gateway in Yemen was bombed by coalition warplanes, causing great damages to the facility.

It added that the engineering teams had headed to Hodeidah and began their work in a bid to restore the internet services as soon as possible.

Yemen's internationally-recognized government only controls the internet corporation in the city of Aden, while the Houthi-affiliated institution controls the rest of the country's provinces.

In a statement, the Yemeni government accused the Houthi group of "opacity and lack of clarity about the reasons for the nationwide interruption of internet service."

The statement indicated that, according to observations by technicians and engineers, the cut-off may be caused by damaged ground cables.

The ongoing outage of internet services has deepened the suffering of the people in the country, which is witnessing a recent escalation of the years-long military conflict.

Ahmed Al-Qurashi, a resident of the city of Marib, told Xinhua that the Internet is their sole communication tool for checking on the situations of family and friends amid the war, and the blackout has completely paralyzed the daily life of Yemenis, especially ceasing all the financial and banking transfers in the country.

Khairallah al-Bahri, a manager of a commercial bank in Yemen, told Xinhua that many banks and commercial institutions turned into dealing with written bonds as a makeshift solution.

Raed Al-Thabati, a Yemeni telecommunication expert, told Xinhua that local companies were incurring huge losses as a result of the internet blackout, which was estimated at four million dollars per day.

Last week, the Houthi-controlled building of the Public Communications Authority in the city of Hodeidah was bombed, by a number of airstrikes, according to the militia.

During the past few days, the Saudi-led Arab coalition has been waging a large-scale aerial military campaign against the Houthis in various areas of Yemen.

The latest exchange of fire came after a Houthi attack on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Jan. 17, during which three petroleum tankers burst into a fire near Abu Dhabi National Oil Company storage facilities in Abu Dhabi. Three persons were killed and six others were injured in the attack.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since the Houthi militia overran much of the country militarily and seized all northern provinces, including the capital Sanaa, in 2014.

Saudi Arabia has been leading an Arab military coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to support the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after Houthis forced him into exile.

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