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: Israel threatens to take military action if Iran closes the Bab al Mandab Strait; UN envoy plans to hold negotiations to resolve Yemen conflict in Geneva in September; Saudi-led coalition airstrikes hit fish market and hospital in al Hudaydah city

Horn of Africa: Likely al Shabaab SVEST kills former Hizbul Islam official in Togdheer, Somaliland region; al Shabaab releases video highlighting attacks against SNA and Somali Special Forces

Yemen Security Brief

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that if Iran closed the Bab al Mandab Strait Israel will take military action during an August 1 speech. Netanyahu stated that Israel would act with an unspecified international coalition to prevent Iran from closing the strait. He added that “Iran’s proxies” recently attempted to obstruct international shipping, referring to the July 25 al Houthi attack on Saudi oil vessels in the Red Sea. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated Israel has heard of threats on Israeli ships in the Red Sea in a separate speech.[1]

UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths is planning to hold negotiations to resolve the Yemen conflict in Geneva in early September. Diplomatic sources told Asharq al Awsat that the negotiations will last three to four days. Griffiths is scheduled to brief the UN Security Council on his plan for negotiations in the afternoon of August 2.[2]

Saudi-led coalition airstrikes hit a fish market and al Thawra Hospital in al Hudaydah city on August 2, according to several Yemeni news sources. The airstrikes killed and injured dozens of civilians, according to a local report. Coalition airstrikes also killed two fishermen and injured several others on an island near northwestern al Hudaydah on August 1.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

A likely al Shabaab militant detonated a suicide vest (SVEST) killing the former Hizbul Islam finance chief Abdifatah Mohamed Ali in Budhole town, Togdheer region, Somaliland on August 1. The SVEST also killed the former Khaatumo regional interior minister and injured four civilians. Hizbul Islam was an Islamist militia that merged with al Shabaab in December 2010. Mohamed Ali had previously been finance chief of the group before he defected from al Shabaab along with Hizbul Islam’s leader, Hassan Dahir Aweys, in 2013.[4]

Al Shabaab released a video highlighting recent attacks on the Somali National Army (SNA) and Somali Special Forces (Danab) on August 1. The video is the third episode in al Shabaab’s “And Be Harsh Against Them” series. The video features 16 attacks across Somalia, with seven of the sixteen attacks occurring in Middle Shabelle region.[5]

[1] “Netanyahu warns that Israel will stop any Iranian attempt to close Red Sea,” The Times of Israel, August 1, 2018,; and “Israel warns Iran of military response if it closed key Red Sea strait,” Reuters, August 1, 2018,
[2] “Exclusive - Yemeni Political Settlement Talks to Return to Geneva in September,” Ashar al Awsat, August 2, 2018,; and “Failed Yemen peace talks to restart in Geneva,” Arab News, August 2, 2018,
[3] “Dozens of civilians were killed and wounded by airstrikes by the coalition in al Hudaydah,” al Masdar Online, August 2, 2018,; “Arab coalition aircraft commits a massacre against the citizens of al Hudaydah,” Aden al Ghad, August 2, 2018,; and “Yemeni fishermen were killed by coalition raids on their boats in the Red Sea,” Yemen Net, August 2, 2018,مقتل-عدد-من-الصيادين-اليمنيين-بغارات-ل/.
[4] Harun Maruf, Twitter, August 1, 2018,; Mogadishu_News, Twitter, August 1, 2018,; “Suicide bomber kills 2 in Buhodle,” Radio Dalsan, August 1, 2018,; and “Deadly suicide attack kills 3 people in Somalia,” Mareeg, August 2, 2018,
[5] “Shabaab video documents 16 attacks on SNA and Somali Special Forces (Danab) throughout Somalia,” SITE, August 1, 2018, available by subscription at; and Terror Monitor, Twitter, August 2, 2018,

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