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 air defenses intercept missile targeting Jazan port; ISIS affiliates claim two bombings in Yemen; AQAP releases video of Ja’ar recapture; Bahraini fighter jet crashes in Jazan, Saudi Arabia; VBIED explodes in Crater, Aden

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants ambush SNA and AMISOM forces in Doonkadide, Hiraan region; SNA deploys additional forces to Qoryoley, Lower Shabelle region; Iranian officials refute allegations of undercover embassy workers spreading Shi’ism in Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Houthi-Saleh forces fired a Qaher-I ballistic missile toward Jazan port in southern Saudi Arabia on December 30. Saudi air defenses intercepted the missile. Al Houthi-Saleh forces have launched at least nine ballistic missiles toward military and economic targets in Saudi Arabia in the past two weeks, but none have reached their targets.[1]
  • Two Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) affiliates claimed credit for bombings in Yemen on December 29. ISIS Wilayat Sana’a claimed responsibility for an improvised explosive device (IED) attack on a truck carrying six al Houthi fighters at an undisclosed location, and ISIS Wilayat Hadramawt claimed responsibility for an IED attack on a bank in al Qatn, Hadramawt in eastern Yemen.[2]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a video on December 29 showing the group’s December 2 recapture of Ja’ar city in Abyan, southern Yemen. AQAP controlled Ja’ar from 2011 until mid-2012. The video also shows militants killing Ali al Sayed, the deputy commander of Abyan’s Popular Committees.[3] 
  • A Bahraini F-16 fighter jet crashed in Jazan province, southern Saudi Arabia on December 30 while participating in coalition operations near the Saudi-Yemeni border. The pilot survived the crashed, which was reportedly caused by a technical error.[4]
  • A vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) detonated in Crater, Aden in southern Yemen on December 29, killing at least three people. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants ambushed Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMSOM) forces on December 30 in Donkadide, Hiraan region, killing one SNA soldier. The joint forces repulsed the ambush and cleared a militant stronghold in the area, killing at least three militants. Additionally, the joint forces arrested seven suspected al Shabaab supporters and confiscated weapons in the nearby city of Bulo-Burde.[6]
  • The SNA deployed additional troops to the Lower Shabelle region’s Qoryoley town on December 30 following an earlier attack on the town by al Shabaab. Al Shabaab militants briefly took control of the town on December 27 before SNA forces recaptured the settlement the following day. Local police officials said that SNA forces in the city are currently guarding each of the settlement’s key entry and exit points.[7]
  • Iranian Foreign Ministry officials dismissed the December 26 claims by Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) that it had thwarted an attempt by Iran to spread Shia sentiment by using undercover embassy workers in Mogadishu. NISA is currently holding at least two Iranian nationals, who were arrested in a raid on a ceremony held by Iran’s Imamu-Khumani Relief Organization on December 23. An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson described NISA’s claims as “purely false” and called for the Somali government to apologize. The Somali government has yet to respond.[8]
[1] “Military source: Firing of Qaher-I missile on Jazan port,” Saba News, December 30, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
“Coalition leaders: Saudi air defenses destroy ballistic missile fired from Yemeni territory toward Jazan,” Saudi Press Agency, December 30, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
[2] SITE Intelligence Group, December 29, 2015. Source available upon request.
[3] SITE Intelligence Group, December 29, 2015. Source available upon request.
[4] Abdul Hadi Habtor, “Bahrain F-16 crashes in Saudi near Yemen border,” AFP, December 30, 2015. Available:
[5] “Breaking: Car bomb explodes in Aden- pictures,” Barakish, December 29, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
[6] “Four killed as Al shabaab and allied troops battle near Bula-burde,” Shabelle News, December 30, 2015. Available:
“Joint forces kill three militants in gun battle with Al-shabaab following ambush,” Wacaal Media, December 30, 2015. Available:
“Two Al-Shabaab militants killed, seven suspects nabbed in Somalia,” Xinhua, December 30, 2015. Available:
[7] “Govt deploys more troops to Qoryoley following Al shabaab attack,” Shabelle News, December 30, 2015. Available:
[8] “Government of Iran refutes claims by NISA,” Goobjoog News, December 30, 2015. Available:
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