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: Ansar al Sharia fields SVBIED targeting home of Iranian ambassador to Yemen in Sana’a; gunmen assassinate security official in Taiz

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants target UN and AMISOM convoys with VBIEDs in Mogadishu; SNA and AMISOM forces conduct security operation in Hiraan region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Ansar al Sharia militants detonated a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) at the house of the Iranian ambassador to Yemen, Hossein Niknam, in the capital Sana’a on December 3. The ambassador was not harmed, but an estimated three people were killed in the attack. Ansar al Sharia later claimed credit for the attack.[1]
  • Unidentified gunmen on motorcycles assassinated a security official in Taiz city in southern Yemen as the official was leaving work on December 3. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) often uses gunmen on motorcycles to target security officials.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) near a UN convoy in Mogadishu, killing four and wounding more than ten on December 3.  Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Abdi Aziz Abu Musab later claimed the group’s responsibility for the attack. Separately, suspected al Shabaab militants detonated a VBIED targeting an African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) convoy in Mogadishu, killing four soldiers on December 3.[3]  
  • Somali National Army (SNA) and AMISOM forces conducted a security operation targeting al Shabaab militants in Bulo-Burde, Hiraan region on December 3. The operation came in response to militants firing mortar rounds at government forces in the area.[4]

[1] “Iranian ambassador’s house targeted in Yemen,” al Jazeera, December 3, 2014. Available:
“Suicide car bomb hits Iran envoy’s house in Yemen, three reported dead,” Reuters, December 3, 2014. Available:
[2] “Assassination of security official in Taiz,” Mareb Press, December 3, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“Gunmen assassinate security officer near center of Taiz,” al Masdar, December 3, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Somalia car bomb targets UN convoy near airport,” BBC, December 3, 2014. Available:
Omar Nor and Greg Botelho, “Al-Shabaab strikes again, killing 4 in attack on U.N. convoy in Somalia,” CNN, December 3, 2014. Available:
“Mogadishu: Car fitted with explosives rams with AMISOM convoy, kills four people,” Goobjoog, December 3, 2014. Available:
[4] “Government forces and AMISOM arrest dozens in Bulo-Burte after motar shelling,” Goobjoog, December 3, 2014. Available:
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