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: UNSC discusses Houthi attack on Abu Dhabi; Saudi-led coalition air campaign targets civilian infrastructure; Israel offers assistance to UAE; AQAP announces death of military official

Somalia: Al Shabaab assassinates election delegate; Banadir police conduct an operation in Mogadishu; upper house speaker accuses Prime Minister Roble of election interference

Yemen Security Brief

The United Nations Security Council held a closed session to discuss the Houthi movement’s attack on Abu Dhabi on January 21.[i] The UAE called the session on January 20.

The Saudi-led coalition continued their air offensive against Houthi-controlled regions in Yemen. A coalition airstrike in Hudaydah city, Hudaydah governorate, western Yemen, reportedly struck a telecommunications node that cut most of Yemen off from the internet on January 20.[ii] The Houthis may also have intentionally sabotaged the al Hudaydah node.[iii] Another airstrike hit a prison in Sa’ada governorate, northern Yemen on January 21.[iv] The prison airstrike caused between 100 and 200 casualties. The coalition is also targeting sites in Sana’a city, Yemen’s capital.

The Israeli prime minister offered “security and intelligence assistance to defend the UAE” in a phone call with the Abu Dhabi crown prince on January 20.[v] The head of an Israeli counter-unmanned aerial systems defense company said the UAE requested the company’s support on January 20.[vi]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) announced a US drone strike killed Saleh bin Salem bin Obaid Aboulan (AKA Abu Amir al Hadrami) in Yemen.[vii] AQAP did not provide a date or a location for the drone strike. Aboulan was an aide to Osama bin Laden.


Somalia Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants assassinated an election delegate in Mogadishu’s Karan district on January 20.[viii] Al Shabaab has repeatedly threatened to kill anyone involved with the election process.

Banadir regional police searched homes in the Dharkenley district of western Mogadishu.[ix] Security forces made arrests and claimed to seize weapons and vehicles. Police began security operations in western Mogadishu on December 18 after an al Shabaab suicide bomber killed four people in the Wajadir district.[x] The deputy police chief said operations in Mogadishu’s Wadajir, Dharkenley, and Kahda districts would continue.

Upper House Speaker Abdi Hashi Abdillahi withdrew from Somali elections and accused Prime Minister Roble of election interference on January 21.[xi]

[i] Al Araby, “The Security Council meets on Friday to discuss the Houthi attacks on Abu Dhabi,” January 21, 2022,

[ii] Doug Madory, Twitter, January 21, 2022,

[iii] Casey Coombs, Twitter, January 20, 2022,; and Ali al Sakani, Twitter, January 20, 2022,

[iv] Jon Gambrell, “Red Cross: Yemen prison airstrike killed, injured over 100,” Associated Press, January 21, 2022,

[v] Al Jazeera, “After the Houthi attack on Abu Dhabi.. Bennett offers assistance to bin Zayed and an Israeli company receives an urgent request from the UAE,” January 21, 2022,

[vi] Al Jazeera, “After the Houthi attack on Abu Dhabi, an Israeli company receives an urgent request from the UAE to expand its defense arsenal,” January 20, 2022,

[vii] Akhbar Yemen, “Al Qaeda announces the death of Osama bin Laden’s assistant in an air strike in Yemen,” January 21, 2022,

[viii] Radio al Furqaan, “MP Elector Assassinated in Mogadishu,” January 20, 2022,

[ix] Istar Cabdi Yusuuf, “DF forces seize weapons and vehicles in Mogadishu,” Caasimada, January 21, 2022,

[x] Brian Carter and Liam Karr, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – January 19, 2022,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, January 19, 2022,

[xi] Radio Risaala, “Abdi Hashi & Boqor Burmadow boycott Somali elections and accuse Roble,” January 21, 2022,

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