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Yemen suffers nationwide internet blackout after coalition air strike

Saudi-led coalition bombarded Hodeidah overnight, taking out a telecommunications hub and triggering the blackout
An image from footage made available by the Houthis shows the aftermath of the overnight Saudi-led coalition strike on a telecommunications hub in Hodeidah (AFP)

The Saudi-led coalition bombarded Yemen's Hodeidah overnight Friday, taking out a telecommunications hub and triggering a nationwide internet blackout.

The coalition said they targeted a "hub for piracy and organised crime" in the city, whose port is a lifeline for the embattled country.

Global internet watchdog NetBlocks reported a "nation-scale collapse of internet connectivity" after the bombardment. 

AFP correspondents in Hodeidah and Sanaa confirmed the outage.

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Saudi Arabia's state news agency said the coalition carried out "precision air strikes... to destroy the capabilities of the Houthi militia in Hodeidah".

The Houthis said people had been killed in the raid, but the statement could not immediately be confirmed. An AFP correspondent in Hodeidah described a large-scale attack.

Video footage showed bodies in the rubble and dazed survivors following the air strike

The attack comes after Houthi rebels hijacked a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-flagged ship in the Red Sea, prompting a warning from the coalition that it would bomb rebel-held ports.

On Monday, the rebels claimed a drone-and-missile attack that struck oil facilities and the airport in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, killing three people and wounding six others.

The Houthis said the attack was in response to the UAE's support for an offensive by pro-government fighters that has pushed the rebels out of the southern Shabwah province and parts of Marib, a major setback for the group.

Saudi Arabia leads a western-backed military coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to restore the government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, which was kicked out of power in the capital, Sanaa, by the Houthi rebels in 2014.

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