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 militant detonates SVEST at al Houthi gathering in Ibb, killing an estimated 33; Ansar al Sharia assassinates security officer in Shabwah

Horn of Africa: Somalia’s intelligence agency announces killing of al Shabaab intelligence chief during US airstrike; Al Shabaab militants ambush SNA and AMISOM forces in Hiraan region

Yemen Security Brief

  • Suspected al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants detonated a suicide vest (SVEST) on December 31 at an al Houthi religious celebration in the city of Ibb, killing an estimated 33 people. Clashes erupted following the explosion between AQAP gunmen and al Houthis at a hospital nearby, killing and injuring an unknown number of people.[1] 
  • Suspected Ansar al Sharia gunmen assassinated a security officer in Ataq, Shabwah on December 31. Ansar al Sharia often assassinates security officials, particularly in southern governorates.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency announced on December 30 that the December 29 US airstrike killed al Shabaab’s chief of intelligence Abdishakur, also known as Tahliil. US officials have not yet named the target of the operation.[3]
  • Al Shabaab militants ambushed Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces near Bula Burte, Hiraan region on December 31. Security forces repelled the attack, killing two militants.[4]

[1] “Clashes close to al Thawra hospital in Ibb,” Barakish, December 31, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
“At least 33 killed in suicide bombing in central Yemen,” Reuters, December 31, 2014. Available:
[2] “Unknown gunmen assassinate officer in general security in Ataq in Shabwah,” al Masdar, December 31, 2014 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “US strike in Somalia ‘killed al-Shabaab intelligence chief’,” BBC, December 30, 2014. Available:
Eric Schmitt, “Drone Strike in Somalia Is Said to Kill Shabaab Leader,” December 30, 2014. Available:
[4] “SNA and AMISOM repulse Al Shabaab attack,” Bar Kulan, December 31, 2014. Available:
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