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: Saudi Arabia incepts al Houthi ballistic missile over Riyadh; U.S. Department of State urges Saudi-led coalition to permit delivery of food and cranes at al Hudaydah port, northern Yemen; UN reports Saudi-led coalition airstrikes kill 136 civilians

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab IED targets Puntland security forces

Yemen Security Brief

Saudi Arabia intercepted a Borkan-2H ballistic missile launched by al Houthi forces over Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on December 19. Al Houthi movement spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam stated the missile targeted the royal court at al Yamama palace, where Saudi leaders were gathered for a meeting. The al Houthi movement previously fired a Borkan-2H at Riyadh on November 4. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley publicly presented evidence that the November 4 Borkan-2H appears to be an Iranian Qiam-1 on December 14.[1]

The U.S. Department of State is urging the Saudi-led coalition to permit the delivery of World Food Program shipments and allow the installation of new cranes at al Hudaydah port, northern Yemen. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan discussed Yemen with international organizations on December 15. The U.S. donated $3.9 million to the World Food Program to purchase new cranes in January 2017 after Saudi-led coalition airstrikes destroyed the old cranes in August 2015. The U.S. stored the new cranes in the UAE after the Saudi-led coalition denied their installation.[2]

The UN reported on December 19 that Saudi-led coalition airstrikes have killed at least 136 civilians and non-combatants and injured 87 others in Sana’a, Sa’ada, al Hudaydah, and Taiz governorates since December 6. The Saudi-led coalition expanded its airstrike campaign following the death of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on December 4. The UN also expressed concern regarding al Houthi forces targeting members of the late President Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) party.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a Puntland security convoy in Galgala town, Bari region, northern Somalia on December 19. Al Shabaab militants killed two Puntland soldiers collecting taxes in Boosaaso, Bari region on December 18. Al Shabaab has attacked Puntland security forces six times in December.[4] 

[1] “Saudi Arabia intercepts Houthi missile fired toward Riyadh, no reported casualties,” Reuters, December 19, 2017,; “Coalition announces the interception of a ballistic missile fired by the Houthis on the Saudi capital Riyadh,” Al Masdar, December 19, 2017,; Mohammed Abdul Salam, Twitter, December 19, 2017,
[2] “Press briefing on Yemen and Gaza,” UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, December 19, 2017,; and “United States calls for delivery of U.N. aid shipments to Yemen,” Reuters, December 18, 2017,
[3] “Saudi-led air strikes kill 136 civilians in Yemen: U.N.,” Reuters, December 19, 2017,
[4] “Several Soldiers Injured In A Bomb Blast On Puntland Troops,” Radio Shabelle, December 19, 2017,; and Al Shabaab detonates IED in Galgala, Telegram, December 19, 2017.

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