Three Divers Arrested After Attempting to Cut Undersea Internet Cable Near Egypt

First Posted: Mar 27, 2013 09:54 PM EDT

Three scuba divers were arrested off the coast Egypt by the country's naval forces as they attempted to cut through an undersea Internet cable on Wednesday, according to various reports.

Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali said in a statement on his official Facebook page that divers were arrested while "cutting the undersea cable", adding that the divers were caught on a speeding fishing boat about 820 yards off the port city of Alexandria. The undersea cable connects Africa with Europe, the Middle East, and Europe.

The damaged cable belonging to the country's main communications company, Telecom Egypt, lead to a nationwide decrease in internet speed and some other countries, said Egyptian news agency Mena.  The specific cable target in this event is the SEA-ME-WE 4 main lines in the Mediterranean.

It was not immediately clear whether the incident was related to disruptions off Egypt reported by cable operator SEACOM last week that it said hit several lines connecting Europe with Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

A handful of Internet and telephone outages have been caused in recent years by damage to undersea cables near Alexandria, which carry more than 75 percent of traffic between the Middle East, Europe, and the United States.

Serious undersea cable cuts caused widespread Internet outages and disruptions across the Middle East on two separate occasions in 2008.

The men are in custody and it is not yet known the motive behind the attack. Their identities have also not been revealed. 

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