Saboteurs may have cut Mideast telecom cables: UN agency

Saboteurs may have cut Mideast telecom cables: UN agency
Saboteurs may have cut Mideast telecom cables: UN agency 

The Sydney Morning Herald
February 19, 2008

Damage to several undersea telecom cables that caused outages across the 
Middle East and Asia could have been an act of sabotage, the 
International Telecommunication Union said on Monday.

"We do not want to preempt the results of ongoing investigations, but we 
do not rule out that a deliberate act of sabotage caused the damage to 
the undersea cables over two weeks ago," the UN agency's head of 
development, Sami al-Murshed, told AFP.

Five undersea cables were damaged in late January and early February 
leading to disruption to Internet and telephone services in parts of the 
Middle East and south Asia.

There has been speculation that the sheer number of cables being cut 
over such a short period was too much of a coincidence and that sabotage 
must have been involved.

India's Flag telecom revealed on February 7 that the cut to the Falcon 
cable between the United Arab Emirates and Oman was caused by a ship's 
anchor. But mystery shrouds what caused another four reported cuts.

"Some experts doubt the prevailing view that the cables were cut by 
accident, especially as the cables lie at great depths under the sea and 
are not passed over by ships," Murshed said on the sidelines of a 
conference on cyber-crime held in Gulf state of Qatar.

The Falcon cable has since been repaired, along with the Flag Europe 
Asia (FEA) cable which was damaged off Egypt's Mediterranean coast. The 
status of the remaining cable is still unclear.

Copyright 2008. The Sydney Morning Herald.

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