Subsea cable break cuts phone lines in eastern Libya

A submarine cable break reportedly brought down phone and internet connections across eastern Libya on Wednesday and caused the closure of Benghazi airport.

Libya’s minister of communications, Osama Syala, is cited by Reuters as saying that the break occurred when the cable was caught in a fishing boat’s equipment.

The cable connected Benghazi to the towns of Messad and Brega, and repair work is underway.

The country has been restoring its telecoms infrastructure since the war in 2011, when Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi cut mobile communications between the west and the east.

Mobile networks in the country are deemed unreliable and internet connections are slow, although the commercial launch this week of the Silphium cable, linking Libya and Crete, should improve the situation.