updated 12/19/2008 10:58:22 AM ET 2008-12-19T15:58:22

Egypt suffered a massive Internet outage after cables in the Mediterranean were cut, the Communications Ministry said Friday.

Three Internet cables were cut off the coast of the Italian island of Sicily on Friday morning, the ministry said in a statement. The cause of the cut was not immediately known. Throughout Egypt, the Internet is almost completely down or working sporadically.

The ministry says it will take "several days" for cables to be repaired and is trying to switch Egypt's Internet to an alternative route through Asia in the meantime.

It was the second large-scale Internet outage in Egypt this year. Undersea cables were also damaged in January, causing outages in the Mideast and India.

Yemen and Sudan were also having phone and Internet difficulties Friday because of the cable cut.

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