By JON GAMBRELL, Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Yemen lost nationwide internet connection on Friday morning after Saudi-led airstrikes targeted a site in the disputed city of Hodeidah, a security group said. defense, plunging the war-torn nation offline.

NetBlocks said the disruption began around 1 a.m. local and affected TeleYemen, the state monopoly that controls internet access in the country. TeleYemen is now ruled by Houthi rebels who have held Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, since late 2014.

Yemen was “in the midst of a nationwide blackout following an airstrike on (a) telecommunications building,” NetBlocks said, without giving immediate details. The San Diego-based Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis also noted a nationwide outage affecting Yemen beginning around the same time.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels who hold Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, has acknowledged carrying out “precise airstrikes to destroy militia capabilities” around the port of Hodeidah. He did not immediately acknowledge hitting a telecom target as NetBlocks described it, but instead called Hodeidah a hub for hacking and smuggling Iranian weapons to support the Houthis.

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The FALCON submarine cable carries the Internet to Yemen via the port of Hodeidah along the Red Sea for TeleYemen. The FALCON cable also lands in the port of Ghaydah, in the far east of Yemen, but the majority of the country’s population lives in the west, along the Red Sea.

A 2020 FALCON cable outage 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.

A Saudi-led coalition entered the Yemen war in 2015 in support of its toppled government. The war has turned into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with international criticism of Saudi airstrikes killing civilians and targeting the country’s infrastructure. Meanwhile, the Houthis have used child soldiers and planted landmines indiscriminately across the country.

The war reached the United Arab Emirates, a Saudi ally, on Monday when the Houthis claimed responsibility for a drone and missile attack on Abu Dhabi, killing three and injuring six.

Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

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