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: U.S. Secretary of State arrives in Jeddah to discuss Yemen; U.S. airstrike kills AQAP militants in Shabwah governorate; Hadi security forces arrest AQAP militants in Aden and Lahij; militants detonate IED targeting Hadi government forces in Aden; Saudi security forces thwart two attempted SVEST attacks in Qatif city, Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants attack Bakool region security forces near Moragabey village, Bakool region; al Shabaab militants ambush SNA and AMISOM convoy near Beledweyne, Hiraan region; SNA forces kill high-ranking al Shabaab commander near Qansah Dhere, Bay region; suspected al Shabaab militants target government officials in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on August 24 to continue talks on the ongoing conflict in Yemen. Secretary Kerry is scheduled to meet with his counterparts from Britain, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf states.[1]
  • A reported U.S. airstrike killed three al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Nisab district, Shabwah governorate in southern Yemen on August 24. The last confirmed U.S. airstrike on AQAP militants occurred on August 5 near Azzan city, Shabwah governorate.[2]
  • Forces loyal to Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government arrested members of an AQAP cell in al Basatin district in eastern Aden city on August 24. Security forces also arrested members of an AQAP cell in Lahij governorate on August 23. These arrests mark the fourth successful counterterrorism operation conducted within 24 hours in Aden.[3]
  • Militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting Hadi government forces in Bir Ahmed district in Aden on August 24. The blast killed two soldiers and injured four others. Hadi government forces intensified counterterrorism operations targeting AQAP in southern Yemen in mid August.[4]
  • Saudi security forces interdicted two suicide vest (SVEST) attackers in Qatif, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia on August 24. The militants intended to strike a restaurant and mosque in majority Shi’a areas in Qatif. Hamza bin Laden, son of deceased al Qaeda emir Osama bin Laden, encouraged Saudis to train with AQAP to overthrow the Saudi regime on August 17.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants attacked a regional security base near Moragabey village in Bakool region, Somalia on August 22. The attack sparked clashes that continued into August 23 and killed seven al Shabaab fighters and eight government soldiers. Al Shabaab militants killed three Ethiopian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops in clashes in Moragabey on July 28.[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants ambushed a Somali National Army (SNA) and Djiboutian AMISOM convoy near Beledweyne in Hiraan region on August 23. The militants wounded three SNA troops. SNA and AMISOM forces captured Luuq, Jelow, and Baar villages, located near Beledweyne, earlier on August 23.[7]
  • SNA forces killed a high-ranking al Shabaab commander, Hassan Ganey, during a raid on an al Shabaab training camp near Qansah Dhere in Bay region on August 23. The government forces killed seven additional al Shabaab fighters during the raid.[8]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants assassinated a senior defense official in Dharkenley district, Mogadishu on August 24. The gunmen killed Yahye Ali Aden before fleeing the scene. Suspected al Shabaab militants also conducted a grenade attack on a house occupied by security and government officials in the Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu on August 23. The grenade blast killed one civilian and wounded three others.[9]
[1] “Yemen meet in Jeddah to focus on return to talks,” Gulf News, August 24, 2016,; and “Saudi participates in an important meeting to discuss the situation in Yemen, with the participation of Russia” al Masdar Online, August 24, 2016,  
[2] “Fallout 3 dead al-Qaeda air raid in Shabwa Governorate,” Akhbar Yemen, August 24, 2016,; Demolinari, Twitter, August 24, 2016,; and “Three killed, suspected Al Qaeda  in a drone strike in Eastern Yemen,” al Masdar, August 24, 2016,
[3] “Arrest of One of the Most Dangerous Terrorist Leaders (Abu Azrael)” Aden Press, August 24, 2016,
[4] “Two soldiers killed in Aden and others wounded,” Barakish, August 24, 2016,
[5] “Saudi Interior announces thwarting a terrorist attack was aimed at a mosque in Qatif,” Ahkbar Yemen, August 24, 2016,; and “Saudi Interior thwart suicide attack on a restaurant Qatif east of the kingdom,” Ahkbar Yemen, August 24, 2016,
[6] “Eight dead, Nine wounded in Fierce fighting in Somalia,” Shabelle News, August 24, 2016,; and “15 Al-Shabaab fighters killed in fighting in Bakool region,” Goobjoog News, August 24, 2016,
[7] “Somali, Au troops ‘regain ground’ from Al Shabaab,” Shabelle News, August 23, 2016,; and “Eight dead, Nine wounded in Fierce fighting in Somalia,” Shabelle News, August 24, 2016,
[8] “Senior Al-Shabaab official killed by Somali forces in South central Somalia,” Goobjoog News, August 24, 2016,  
[9] “Somali army officer killed in Mogadishu - Witness,” Shabelle News, August 24, 2016,; “Somali Defense ministry worker killed in Mogadishu,” Goobjoog News, August 24, 2016,; and “Somalia: 1 killed in blast at minister’s residence,” Shabelle News, August 24, 2016,
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