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 bombs dental clinic in central Yemen; Hadi government–aligned forces clash with al Houthis in Ma’rib governorate

Horn of Africa: AFRICOM conducts airstrike targeting al Shabaab in southern Somalia; Somali forces announce new military operation against al Shabaab in Hirshabelle State

 Yemen Security Brief:

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) detonated at least one improvised explosive device targeting a dental clinic in Sawma’ah district in central Yemen’s al Bayda governorate on August 25. AQAP claimed responsibility for executing the dentist who owned the clinic in mid-August. AQAP accused him of participating in an alleged espionage network spying for the US, Saudi, and Emirati governments and the al Houthi movement.[i]

Forces aligned with the internationally recognized Yemeni government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi clashed with al Houthi militants near Sirwah district in northern Yemen’s Ma’rib governorate on August 26. Hadi government–aligned forces clashed with al Houthi militants in Ma’rib governorate throughout late August.[ii]

 Horn of Africa Security Brief:

US Africa Command (AFRICOM) conducted an airstrike targeting al Shabaab in Saakow in southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region on August 24. The airstrike killed six al Shabaab militants and injured three others. AFRICOM claimed the airstrike was in response to an al Shabaab improvised explosive device attack targeting US-trained Somali special forces in Lower Shabelle’s Awdheegle district on the same day. AFRICOM confirmed that al Shabaab falsely claimed wounding a US soldier during this attack.[iii]

The Somali National Army announced on August 24 a military offensive against al Shabaab in central Somalia’s Hirshabelle State. Al Shabaab killed Hirshabelle’s health minister in the region in early August.[iv]

[i] “Al-Qaeda Blows up Yemen Clinic After Executing Dentist,” Defense Post, August 25, 2020,; and “AQAP Announces Arrest of Spy Network for American, Emirati and Saudi Intel,” SITE Intelligence Group, August 24, 2020, available by subscription at

[ii] “Raging battles…the army is taking back positions in Sirwah and the Houthis are receiving painful blows,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, August 26, 2020,

[iii] “Federal Government of Somalia, AFRICOM target al Shabaab,” US Africa Command, August 26, 2020,;

 “Deadly strike kills senior al Shabaab Commander in Somalia,” Mareeg Media, August 26, 2020,; “Shabaab claims wounding American soldier, killing four Somali special forces in bomb blasts southwest of capital”, SITE, August 25, 2020, available by subscription at

[iv] “Somali forces announce new operations in Hirshabelle,” Hiiraan, August 25, 2020,; and “Hirshabelle to launch offensives against al Shabaab,” Hiiraan, August 26, 2020, .

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