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: Yemeni security forces uncover Iranian spy network; Saleh loyalist killed after staging an attack on a general’s house in Sana’a; two al Qaeda-linked militants killed in southern Yemen; prison protests in Dhamar kill one prisoner; soldier arrested with suicide belt during Central Security Forces’ military parade; Ban Ki-moon commends Yemen’s progress toward the National Dialogue conference

Horn of Africa: Somali troops and AMISOM forces kill al Shabaab militants after pounding Bardera town, one of their remaining strongholds; Beledweyne district commissioner confirms a heavy search operation for those who planned the roadside attacks against Ethiopian troops on July 17; al Shabaab issues four communiqués noting the search operation in Mogadishu and claiming several attacks

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Yemeni Defense Ministry announced that security forces uncovered an Iranian spy network, led by a former Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander, which has operated in Yemen for the last seven years. The Defense Ministry added that the network carried out espionage activities in Yemen and the Horn of Africa.[1]
  • Yemeni military officials confirmed that an army officer loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed while carrying out an attack on a defected general’s house in Sana’a.[2]
  • Armed tribesmen clashed with al Qaeda-linked militants in southern Yemen, according to a Yemeni military official. Two militants were killed and three others militants were wounded.[3]
  • Eyewitnesses reported that Yemeni security forces killed one prisoner and injured 10 others while trying to break up prison protests in Dhamar on July 17.[4]
  • Yemeni security sources said that a soldier, Fayez al Sofi, was arrested with an explosive belt in his suitcase while attending a Central Security Forces’ military parade on July 17. Security forces received a tip from one of Sofi’s colleagues, who was told not to attend the event.[5]
  • UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon voiced his support for Yemen’s launch of the preparatory process for Yemen’s National Dialogue slated for November in a July 16 statement. Ban commended President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi for pushing forward with Yemen’s political transition process and said, “The national dialogue will be an opportunity for all actors in Yemen to collectively establish a new social contract and achieve national reconciliation.”[6]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali troops and Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces killed at least 11 al Shabaab militants after advancing through one of the remaining al Shabaab strongholds in Gedo region on July 16 and 17. Troops pressed through militant hideouts surrounding Bardera and reportedly took control of Takara and Jungal towns bordering Kenya.[7]
  • Beledweyne district commissioner Sheikh Osman confirmed to Shabelle Media Network that Somali forces launched a search operation for those who planned the roadside attack on Ethiopian troops in Beledweyne on July 17. Local witnesses reported that that the troops arrested at least 200 people and killed at least ten when they opened fire on civilians after the attack.[8]
  • Al Shabaab issued four communiqués through its media wing, al Kata’ib Media Foundation, on jihadist forums on July 17. The statements acknowledged the scale of the Transitional Federal Government’s (TFG) search operations in Mogadishu, and claimed responsibility for several attacks targeting Kenyan, Somali, and AMISOM troops. Al Shabaab also reported on the civilian projects it has funded.[9]      

 [1] “Source: Iranian Spy Network Operating in Yemen for 7 Years Dismantled,” 26 September Net, July 18, 2012. Available:
[2] “Yemen Army Officer, 2 al-Qaida Militants Killed in Separate Incidents,” AP, July 18, 2012. Available:
[3] “Yemen Army Officer, 2 al-Qaida Militants Killed in Separate Incidents,” AP, July 18, 2012. Available:
[4] “One Prisoner Killed in Dhamar,” Yemen Post, July 17, 2012. Available:
[5] “Soldier Tries to Detonate Himself inside Central Security,” Yemen Post, July 17, 2012. Available:
[6] “Yemen: Ban Welcomes Launch of Process for National Dialogue Conference,” UN News Centre, July 16, 2012. Available:
[7] “11 Militants Killed in Somalia Fighting, Says Military,” Shabelle Media Network, July 18, 2012. Available:
[8] “Somali Troops Conduct Operations in Beledweyne, After Deadly Blast,” Shabelle Media Network, July 18, 2012. Available:
[9] “Shabaab Remarks on Arrest Campaign in Mogadishu, Claims Attacks,” SITE Intel Group, July 17, 2012. Available at SITE.
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