Internet outages in French cities caused by ‘cable vandalism’

Internet services were down or running slowly in several French cities on Wednesday after suspected acts of vandalism targeting fibre optic cables, one operator and the economy ministry said.

Internet outages in French cities caused by 'cable vandalism'
French telecoms group Free said its cables had been targeted for vandalism. Photo by Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP

Telecoms group Free announced “multiple malicious acts” targeting its cables overnight, while the economy ministry said it had been informed of “cut cables” as the source of the problems. 

French media reported that underground cables had been cut in Fresnes-en-Woëvre (Meuse), Meaux and Souppes-sur-Loing (Seine-et-Marne) and Le Coudray-Montceaux (Essonne). These networks supply the Paris-Lille, Paris-Strasbourg and Paris-Lyon long-distance internet connections.

For the latest, click here – French internet cable attacks, what we know so far

Free said it had been the victim of “multiple malicious acts” including in Reims and Graveline. It added that engineers had been working on the problem since 4am.

Rival operators Bouygues Telecom and Orange said they were not affected.

But competitor SFR said it had experienced “several fibre cuts” in the Paris region and in Lyon in southeast France.

Problems were reported by users around the country including in the cities of Strasbourg and Grenoble.

The source of the problem is unknown at this stage, but experts stressed that apparently coordinated cuts to fibre optic cables were unprecedented.

“This sort of incident at this scale never happens,” one security source told AFP on condition of anonymity. “It’s the first time and we don’t know who it is for the moment.”

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France charges teen over ‘imminent terror attack’ plot

French authorities have charged an 18-year-old man on suspicion of planning an imminent terror attack with a knife in the name of Islamic State (IS) jihadists, a judicial source said on Wednesday.

France charges teen over 'imminent terror attack' plot

Initial investigations indicated that he planned to carry out a terror attack “in the name of IS, to which he had pledged allegiance,” said the source, who asked not to be named, adding that the man had been detained in the Drome region of southeast France and charged in Paris.

The source added that the man had been detained in the Drome region of southeast France and charged in Paris.

The man, from a Muslim family, had adopted extremist views and was considered a threat, sparking France’s anti-terror prosecutors office (PNAT) to open an investigation on May 19, a source close to the case said.

Police arrested him on Friday and a video of him swearing allegiance to IS was found in his possession.

The source did not say whom he was planning to target in the attack or in which location.

France saw a wave of jihadist attacks from 2015 that left hundreds dead and pushed the country to its highest level of security alert.

There has been no repeat of a mass atrocity in the last years, but there have been several deadly attacks carried out by lone individuals

More to follow