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: Trump administration to publicly display evidence of Iranian facilitation of al Houthi ballistic missile program; Saudi-led coalition airstrikes hit al Houthi military police camp in Sana’a; Emirati-backed forces kill senior AQAP militant in Abyan governorate, southern Yemen; USAID to increase emergency food and disaster assistance to Yemen

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants detonate IED targeting local official in Gedo region, southern Somalia; U.S. AFRICOM denies airstrike in Hiraan region, central Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

President Donald Trump’s administration is preparing to publicly display components of a ballistic missile fired by the al Houthi movement into Saudi Arabia as evidence of Iranian involvement in Yemen, according to a senior U.S. intelligence officer. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley will also present other evidence of Iran’s weapons proliferation and potential violations of UN sanctions.[1] 

Saudi-led coalition airstrikes hit an al Houthi military police camp, killing at least 39 people and injuring 90 others in Habrah neighborhood, eastern Sana’a, northern Yemen on December 13. The military police camp held approximately 180 prisoners whom al Houthi forces captured on the conflict’s frontlines, according to al Houthi-affiliated media. The Saudi-led coalition intensified its air campaign in Sana’a governorate after former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s death on December 4.[2]

Emirati-backed al Hizam Security Forces killed senior al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militant Saleh al Barak near a security checkpoint in al Wade’a district, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on December 12. Al Hizam Security Forces raided Barak’s home during the week of December 4 and found explosive devices, including vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs).[3]

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced an additional $130 million in emergency food and disaster assistance to Yemen on December 12. USAID administrator Mark Green stated the Saudi-led coalition has not fully eased its blockade on Yemen and USAID’s announcement is intended to signal readiness to respond to the humanitarian situation. The U.S. has provided $638 million of humanitarian aid to Yemen since October 2016. The UN increased its estimate of 7.1 million Yemenis on the brink of famine to 8.4 million on December 11.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a local government official in Fahafhdun, Gedo region, southern Somalia. The militants planted the IED outside the official’s house. The blast did not harm the official but injured two children. Somali National Army (SNA) forces secured the Garbaharey-Bardhere highway near Fahafhdun on December 11.[5]  

U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) denied reports that a U.S. airstrike struck an al Shabaab base in Wardhinle village near Jalalaqsi, Hiraan region, central Somalia on December 13. Somali media reported the strike on December 12.[6]


[1] “Haley will display missile, other evidence Iran supplying Yemen rebels,” NBC News, December 12, 2017,
[2] “New massacres of aggression, one hundred dead and wounded in raids of aggression targeting Sana’a and Sa’ada,” Al Masirah, December 13, 2017,; “Intensive raids by the coalition on camp in Sana'a, Houthis announce the killing of 12 people and injuring of 80,” Al Masdar, December 13, 2017,; and “At least 39 Yemenis dead in Saudi-led raid on police camp in Sanaa: official,” Reuters, December 13, 2017,
[3] “Senior al Qaeda leader killed after clash with security,” Aden Lang, December 13, 2017,
[4] “Fact Sheet: Additional U.S. Assistance for Yemen,” USAID, December 12, 2017,; “U.S. aid chief says no sign Yemen port blockade easing to allow aid in,” Reuters, December 12, 2017,; and “Statement by the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, Calling on Parties to Facilitate Unimpeded Aid Delivery,” Relief Web, December 11, 2017,
[5] “Two children injured in IED explosion in Gedo,” Goobjoog, December 13, 2017,
[6] Harun Maruf, Twitter, December 13, 2017,; and US AFRICOM, Twitter, December 13, 2017,

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