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: US Navy seizes Iranian arms shipment to Houthis in Gulf of Oman; IS-Yemen pledges allegiance to new ISIS leader; US DNI says AQAP is top terror threat globally

Somalia: Anti-al Shabaab forces clear several villages and al Shabaab positions before entering outskirts of al Shabaab stronghold in south-central Somalia; al Shabaab clashes with anti-al Shabaab forces in south central Somalia

Yemen Security Brief:

The US Navy seized arms and other supplies bound for Yemen from Iran.[i] The US Navy found 1 million rounds of 7.62 ammunition, 7,000 rocket fuses, and 2,100 kg of rocket propellant. The weapons were bound for the Houthis.

The Islamic State in Yemen pledged allegiance to new ISIS leader Abu al Husayn al Qurashi on December 3.[ii]

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is the top terror threat globally at the Reagan National Defense Forum on December 3.[iii]

Somalia Security Brief:

Somali National Army (SNA) and local militia cleared several villages surrounding Adan Yabal in the Hiraan and Middle Shabelle regions, central Somalia, on December 3.[iv] The defense ministry spokesperson said the anti-al Shabaab forces had liberated most of the area south of Adan Yabal between Adan Yabal and Ali Gadud towns and cleared Mabah village, north of Adan Yabal. The fighting killed 16 al Shabaab militants and injured five anti-al Shabaab soldiers.

SNA and local militia attacked al Shabaab positions near Juhay, Adale district, Middle Shabelle region, south-central Somalia, on December 4.[v] Likely Turkish or US drone strikes reportedly supported the Somali forces.

SNA and local militia forces reportedly began entering the outskirts of Adan Yabal town, Middle Shabelle, south-central Somalia, on December 4.[vi] The majority of al Shabaab militants reportedly fled in advance of the anti-al Shabaab forces on December 3.[vii] The anti-al Shabaab forces are carefully entering the town to minimize casualties from al Shabaab improvised explosive devices.

SNA and Ma’awisley militia clashed with al Shabaab near two villages 20–40 miles south of Adan Yabal in Adan Yabal district, Middle Shabelle region, south-central Somalia, on December 5.[viii] The villages are both along the same road, which is one of two main roads that enter Adan Yabal from the south. Anti-al Shabaab forces secured villages along the other road during operations on December 3.[ix]

[i] NAVCENT Public Affairs, “US seizes 1.1 million rounds of ammunition, other illegal weapons in Gulf of Oman,” December 3, 2022,

[ii] Daniele Garofalo, Twitter, December 3, 2022,

[iii] Jeff Seldin, Twitter, December 3, 2022,

[iv] Mohamed Dhaysane, “Somali Military Liberates 4 Strategic Villages From al-Shabab Militants,” Voice of America, December 3, 2022,; Goobjoog, “Somali Army gains more ground after liberation of four villages,” December 4, 2022,

[v] Goobjoog, “Heavy fighting ongoing in Middle Shabelle as army engages Al-Shabaab militants,” December 4, 2022,

[vi] Zahra Axmed Gacal, “Al-Shabaab has left Adan-Yabaal and the issue that prevents the army from occupying it has been announced,” Caasimada, December 4, 2022,

[vii] Qiraat Somali, “The joint forces are approaching Adan Yabal, and al Shabaab is withdrawing,” December 3, 2022,

[viii] Horseed Media, “Heavy fighting took place in areas under Adan Yabal district,” December 5, 2022,

[ix] Mohamed Dhaysane, “Somali Military Liberates 4 Strategic Villages From al-Shabab Militants.”

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