MidEast crews reach damaged cables

February 4, 2009 6:06:27 PM PST
A robotic submarine is searching beneath the Mediterranean for damaged communications cables, two days after Web and telephone access was knocked out for much of the Middle East. Telecommunication providers from Cairo to Dubai continue to scramble to reroute voice and data traffic through potentially costly detours in Asia and North America after the lines running under the Mediterranean Sea were damaged Friday.

Internet access has been largely knocked out for two days in at least six countries that were affected -- Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Yemen.

It's the second time this year that trans-Mediterranean cables to Europe have been severed. The earlier cut, in late January, was apparently caused by a ship's anchor.