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.

Yemen: AQAP threatens retribution for Saudi executions; Saudi-led coalition conducts airstrikes in Taiz governorate; Abu Abbas Brigade-aligned forces clash with Islahi forces in Taiz city; al Houthi forces claim multiple attacks in southern Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Suspected U.S. drone strikes target Islamic State and al Shabaab in Puntland; NISA arrests two Amniyat operatives in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) published a statement on April 25 threatening to enact revenge on Saudi Arabia for the execution of 37 prisoners on terrorism-related charges on April 23. AQAP condemned the executions as one of a series of “crimes and great sins” designed to appease the United States.[1]

The Saudi-led coalition conducted six airstrikes on al Houthi forces in Dimnat Khadir district in eastern Taiz governorate in western Yemen on April 26. The strikes targeted al Houthi reinforcements that were en route to the frontlines in eastern Ibb and western Dhaleh governorates, according to pro-coalition media.[2]

Forces aligned with the Abu Abbas Brigade clashed with the Islah party’s Popular Gatherings militia in Taiz city on April 24. Abu Abbas-aligned forces and Islahi forces previously fought over control of Taiz city in March 2019.[3]

Al Houthi forces claimed to fire five Zilzal 1 missiles at Saudi forces in Asir region in southern Saudi Arabia on April 25. Al Houthi forces separately attacked Saudi Task Force Yemen forces in Jizan region in southwestern Saudi Arabia on April 24 and April 25.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Suspected U.S. drones conducted airstrikes against Islamic State and al Shabaab fighters in multiple locations in Puntland in northern Somalia on April 26. The aircraft fired four missiles at Islamic State militants in the Timirshe area of Puntland, which is located approximately 60 kilometers correctionA previous version of the security review stated that Timirshe is southwest of Boosaaso.southeast of Puntland’s commercial capital Boosaaso. Aircraft also fired two missiles at al Shabaab militants in a village near Timirshe. Al Shabaab and the Islamic State have been clashing in eastern Puntland since December 2018.[5]

Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) agents captured two al Shabaab operatives in the Elasha Biyaha area on the outskirts of the Somali capital Mogadishu on April 26. The two operatives were members of the Amniyat, al Shabaab’s intelligence wing, and had conducted assassinations in Mogadishu.[6]

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[1] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, April 26, 2019,; and “AQAP threatens revenge for Saudi Arabia executing 37 prisoners,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 25, 2019, English translation available by subscription at SITE Intelligence Group,

[2] “Air strikes by coalition fighters targeting reinforcements of the Houthi militia southeast of Taiz,” Al Montasaf, April 26, 2019,; and “6 air strikes stopped the Houthis in the desert north of Lahij,” Aden Time, April 26, 2019,

[3] “The Brotherhood militias in Taiz are pushing towards chaos and eye Bab al Mandab,” Aden Time, April 26, 2019,;

[4] “20 mercenaries killed in Jizan and gathered in Asir with 5 rockets,” 26 Sep Net, April 26, 2019,

[5] Garowe Online, Twitter, April 26, 2019,; and Mohamed Olad Hassan, “Somalia’s Al-Shabab declares war on pro-Islamic State group,” Voice of America, December 21, 2018,

[6] “Two Al-Shabaab senior operatives ‘captured’ in Somalia,” Garowe, April 26, 2019,

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