Gulf of Aden Security Review

A regularly updated review of both Yemen and the Horn of Africa covering topics related to security, governance, and militant activity.{{authorBox.message}}



Yemen: Al Houthi movement continues drone attacks on airports in southwestern Saudi Arabia; Saudi-led coalition conducts airstrikes in Sana’a; al Houthi official threatens attacks on oil facilities, Egypt, and Sudan

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab detonates VBIEDs in Mogadishu; al Shabaab kills Kenyan policemen with IED near Somali border; clan militia murders civilians in response to suspected al Shabaab attack

Yemen Security Brief

The al Houthi movement conducted two drone attacks against the Abha regional airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia on June 15 and June 17, respectively. Al Houthi forces also attacked the Jizan regional airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia with drones on June 15. Al Houthi forces previously fired a missile at the Abha airport, which is located 110 kilometers from the Yemeni border, on June 12, injuring 26 civilians. The al Houthi movement vowed to continue attacks on airports in southwestern Saudi Arabia after the missile attack.[1]

The Saudi-led coalition conducted airstrikes in the al Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital Sana’a on June 15. The coalition began a series of airstrikes in Sana’a on June 14 in response to the al Houthi missile attack on the Abha airport two days prior.[2]

President of the al Houthi Supreme Political Council Mahdi al Mushat threatened attacks against oil facilities and tankers in the Red Sea and Arabian Sea on June 17, according to anti-al Houthi media. Mushat also threatened missile attacks against Sudan and Egypt, which are members of the Saudi-led coalition.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) and a suicide vehicle-borne IED (SVBIED) in a coordinated attack in the Somali capital Mogadishu on June 15. Al Shabaab militants detonated the VBIED at a security checkpoint near the presidential palace before detonating the SVBIED at a checkpoint on the road to the airport shortly thereafter. The two explosions killed 11 people and injured another 25.[4]

Al Shabaab militants detonated an IED targeting a Kenyan police vehicle near the Somali border in Wajir County in eastern Kenya on June 15. The attack killed 10 police officers.[5]

Clan militiamen murdered nine Somali civilians in Galkayo town in north-central Somalia on June 14 in retaliation for the murder of a local security official by suspected al Shabaab militants. The militiamen were members of the Sa’ad Habar Gedir sub-clan and the victims were members of the Rahanweyn clan. Security officials in Galkayo have previously accused the Rahanweyn of providing fighters to al Shabaab.[6]

[1] “Houthis say they launched drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s Abha and Jizan airports,” Haaretz, June 16, 2019,; and “Yemen’s Houthis launch new attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport: Al Masirah TV,” Reuters, June 16, 2019,

[2] “For the second day.. Coalition attacks sites in Sanaa and Houthis vow more,” Al Jazeera, June 15, 2019,التحالف-السعودي-الإماراتي-قصف-معسكرات-حوثية-طائرات-مسيرة-مطار-أبها; “Saudi-led coalition hits Houthi positions in Yemen’s Sanaa: Saudi state TV,” Reuters, June 15, 2019,; and “Houthi military spokesman: Abha, Jizan and Najran airports have become unsafe and will be permanently targeted,” Al Mashhad Al Yemeni, June 17, 2019,

[3] “The Houthis threaten to target oil tankers, Egypt and Sudan,” Hadramout, June 17, 2019,

[4] Abdi Guled, “11 killed, 25 injured as explosions rock Somalia’s capital,” Associated Press, June 15, 2019,; and “Shabaab Claims Two Car Bombings in Mogadishu Killing 31, Boasts Multiple Attacks in Kenya in 2 Days,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 17, 2019, English translation available by subscription at

[5] “Roadside bomb kills several Kenyan police near Somali border,” France 24, June 17, 2019,; and “Kenya Police Blame Al-Shabab For Blast Near Somalia That Left Officers Dead,” NPR, June 15, 2019,

[6] “Somalia militia executes nine civilians,” Africa News, June 15, 2019,

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Yemen: Al Houthi movements launches second attack on Saudi airport in two days; Saudi-led coalition conducts airstrikes in three governorates in central and northern Yemen; AQAP claims IED attack against Emirati-backed forces in Abyan

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants die in IED accident in Lamu town; suspected al Shabaab militants abduct Kenyan police reservists in Wajir County

Yemen Security Brief

Saudi Air Defense Forces shot down five al Houthi drones that were targeting Abha regional airport and the nearby city of Khamis Mushayt in Asir region in southwestern Saudi Arabia on June 14. The drone attacks occurred two days after the al Houthi movement fired a missile at the same airport, injuring 26 civilians. The Saudi-led coalition conducted airstrikes on al Houthi positions in central Yemen on June 13 in response to the missile attack.[1]

The Saudi-led coalition conducted airstrikes against al Houthi military positions near the Yemeni capital Sana’a in central Yemen on June 14. The coalition also conducted airstrikes on al Houthi positions in Dhamar city in central Yemen and in al Matama district in al Jawf governorate in northern Yemen.[2]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed to detonate an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting Emirati-backed al Hizam Security Forces in al Mahfad district in eastern Abyan governorate in southern Yemen on June 11. AQAP claimed to kill two soldiers in the attack.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Four al Shabaab militants accidentally killed themselves while preparing an IED in Lamu, a Kenyan coastal town near the Somali border, on June 13. The militants were placing an IED near a bridge in the town when it prematurely exploded.[4]

Suspected al Shabaab militants abducted three members of the Kenya Police Reserves from the reservists’ homes in Qorof Harer village in Wajir County in eastern Kenya on June 14.[5]

[1] “Yemen war: Second assault on Saudi Abha airport in two days,” BBC, June 14, 2019,; “Yemen’s Houthis, in tit-for-tat, launch fresh attacks against Saudi Abha airport,” Reuters, June 14, 2019,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review – June 13, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, June 13, 2019,

[2] “Coalition aircraft destroys Houthi reinforcements in three provinces,” Hadramout, June 14, 2019,

[3] “AQAP Claims Killing 2 in Bombing on UAE-backed Security Belt Forces in Abyan,” SITE Intelligence Group, June 14, 2019, English translation is available by subscription at

[4] “Kenya says 4 Al Shabaab killed in bomb explosion,” Mareeg, June 14, 2019,

[5] Harun Maruf, Twitter, June 14, 2019,

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Yemen: Saudi-led coalition conducts airstrikes in Yemen following al Houthi missile attack; pro-Hadi forces kill al Houthi commander in Sa’ada governorate; STC Vice President criticizes Saudi-led coalition’s relationship with al Islah

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab conducts IED attack in Garissa County; AMISOM forces capture al Shabaab operative in Lower Shabelle region; AFRICOM commander meets Djiboutian President

Yemen Security Brief

The Saudi-led coalition conducted multiple airstrikes on al Houthi positions around the al Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital Sana’a on June 13. The Saudi-led coalition conducted additional airstrikes in Dhamar and Sa’ada regions in central and northern Yemen on the same day. Saudi Arabia previously vowed to retaliate for an al Houthi missile attack on an airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia that injured 26 civilians on June 12.[1]

Yemeni soldiers aligned with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi killed an al Houthi commander during clashes in Kitaf district in northern Sa’ada governorate in northern Yemen on June 10. Pro-Hadi forces identified the commander as Brigadier General Hamza Mohammed Ismail al Washli.[2]

Transitional Political Council for the South (STC) Vice President Hani bin Brik criticized the Saudi-led coalition for its support of the Islamist al Islah party during a speech on June 13. Bin Brik warned that the coalition’s continued support of al Islah would result in the coalition’s defeat in Yemen. The STC is an Emirati-backed southern Yemeni secessionist organization.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) vehicle near Garissa town in eastern Kenya on June 13. Al Shabaab claimed to destroy the vehicle and cause multiple KDF casualties.[4]

African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces captured an al Shabaab operative in Beled Amin town in Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia on June 11. The operative was planning IED attacks along highways in the area.[5]

The commander of United States Africa Command (US AFRICOM), General Thomas Waldhauser, met with Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh in the Djiboutian capital Djibouti City on June 12. The two discussed regional security and the development of the Djiboutian security forces. Djibouti hosts a US military base that houses approximately 4,500 soldiers.[6]

[1] “Air strikes hit around Yemen’s capital: TV, residents,” Reuters, June 13, 2019,; “In retaliation for the bombing of Abha airport.. The Saudi-UAE alliance strikes camps in Sanaa,” Al Jazeera, June 13, 2019,التحالف-السعودي-الإماراتي-معسكرات-بصنعاء-قصف-مطار-أبها-الحوثيين; and “Coalition Air launches a series of raids on Houthi targets in Sana’a and Dhamar,” News Yemen, June 13, 2019,

[2] “A senior Houthi leader was killed by army fire in Kataf, northeast of Saada,” Hadramout, June 13, 2019,

[3] “Ben Brik criticizes the Alliance’s support for the Reform Party,” Yemen Akhbar, June 13, 2019,

[4] “Kenyan troops hit by al Shabaab explosion,” Mareeg, June 13, 2019,

[5] “Al-Shabab operative nabbed in southern Somalia,” Garowe, June 13, 2019,

[6] “U.S. leaders, President Guelleh discuss U.S.-Djibouti partnerships in progress,” U.S. Africa Command, June 13, 2019,

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