Egypt arrests divers in scheme to cut undersea Internet cable

Three divers accused of trying to destroy an undersea Internet cable off the coast of Egypt have been arrested by authorities.

The South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 4 cable was cut near the coastal city of Alexandria, slowing down Internet speeds in Egypt and parts of the Middle East and Asia, according to reports.

The slowdown was further exacerbated by the fact that nearby cables were undergoing maintenance, Gigaom reported, citing “sources in the telecom community”.

Egyptian military spokesman Colonel Ahmed Mohammed Ali said the divers were apprehended on a fishing boat 750m off the coast, and were arrested while in the act of cutting the cable belonging to Telecom Egypt, the country’s largest telco.

He did not reveal any possible motives. There’s no word yet as to whether the damage was related to cable operator SEACOM’s report last week that pointed to an incident damaging cable lines connecting Europe to Africa, the Middle East and Asia.