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: Al Houthi forces claim to attack Saudi Aramco facility in Riyadh with new drone; militants shell military camp in Ma’rib during Hadi government vice president visit; al Houthi movement leader reiterates willingness to transfer al Hudaydah port to UN administration; AQAP militants shell al Hizam Security Forces base in Abyan governorate; Saudi Air Defense Force intercepts al Houthi ballistic missile targeting Najran city, southern Saudi Arabia

Horn of Africa: European governments pledge continued financial assistance to Somalia

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi forces attacked a Saudi Aramco refinery in Riyadh with a new long-range drone named Samad 2 on July 18, according to al Houthi media. An Aramco official reported a small fire at the facility due to “an operational incident” on July 18.[1]

Militants shelled a military training camp in Ma’rib governorate, northern Yemen on July 18. Hadi government Vice President Ali Mohsen al Ahmar was visiting the camp at the time of the attack. The mortar fire killed the military attaché for the Yemeni Embassy in Bahrain Mohammed Saleh al Ahmar.[2]

Al Houthi movement leader Abdul Malik al Houthi announced on July 17 that he agreed to a UN proposal to transfer al Hudaydah port to UN administration if the UAE ends its offensive on al Hudaydah. Yemeni Foreign Minister Khalid al Yamani reiterated the Hadi government’s demand that al Houthi forces must fully withdrawal from the Red Sea coast and allow Hadi government ministry of interior officials to supervise al Hudaydah port on July 17. Al Yamani added that the Hadi government is willing to use military force if the al Houthi movement does not agree to the proposal.[3]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants shelled an al Hizam Security Forces camp in al Mahfad district, Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on July 18. Al Hizam Security Forces deployed additional troops to the district in response to the attack.[4]  

Al Houthi forces fired a ballistic missile at Najran city, Najran region, southern Saudi Arabia on July 18. Saudi air defense systems intercepted the missile, according to Saudi-led coalition Spokesperson Colonel Turki al Maliki. Al Maliki noted the missile was fired from Sa’ada city, northern Yemen.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

The European Union (EU) pledged 200 million euros to support Somalia’s political and economic stabilization during a conference in Brussels. The EU also pledged 114 million euros to fund the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces fighting al Shabaab. The Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs additionally pledged to double Sweden’s assistance to the country to $350 million over the next five years. Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo stated his commitment to holding a multi-party election in 2020, promising a “one-vote, one-person” policy. [6]

[1] Saudi_Aramco, Twitter, July 18, 2018,; “Houthis attack ARAMCO refinery in Riyadh using drone - Houthi-run TV station,” Swissinfo, July 18, 2018; Narrabyee, Twitter, July 18, 2018,; “The Yemeni air force reveals the march of long-range aircraft and Adashnha targeting Aramco’s Riyadh,” Al Masirah, July 18, 2018,; and “A fire at Saudi Aramco's oil company in Saudi Arabia and the Houthis say they targeted it with a marching plane,” Al Masdar Online, July 18, 2018,
[2] “Brigadier General Mohammed Mohammed Saleh al-Ahmar was killed in a shell explosion in Marib,” Al Masdar Online, July 18, 2018,; and “Urgent: Najat Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar of an assassination attempt and the death of his son-in-law,” Aden al Ghad, July 18, 2018,; and 
[3] “Yemeni government insists on Hodeidah handover,” Gulf News, July 18, 2018,; and “Yemen Government Proposes Initiative for Complete Houthi Withdrawal from West Coast,” Asharq al-Awsat, July 18, 2018,
 Georges Malbrunot, “Abdel Malek al-Houthi: ‘Au Yemen, la France oit soutenir la paix, pas la guerre,” Le Figaro, July 17, 2018,; “Yemen rebel leader willing to give UN control of key port,” Times Live, July 18, 2018,; and “Leader of Yemen’s Revolution tells Le Figaro: Those who demand Yemenis to withdraw from Hodeidah as if asking French people to withdraw from Paris,” Saba News, July 18, 2018,
[4] “Al-Qaeda militants bomb a security belt camp in Al-Mahfad Abyan,” Al Masdar Online, July 18, 2018,
[5] "Coalition announces the intercept of a ballistic missile in the skies of Najran," Al Masdar Online, July 18, 2018,; and "Coalition leadership: A ballistic missile was deliberately launched to target civilians in Saudi Arabia," Mareb Press, July 18, 2018,
[6] “International community strengthens support for Somalia’s plans for stability and development,” European Commission, July 17, 2018,; “Somalia Partnership Forum ends with strong int’l support,” Garowe, July 18, 2018,; “Somalia, Int’l community issue joint communique,” Mareeg, July 18, 2018,; and “Somalia is opening a ‘new chapter of its history’ declares UN political affairs chief as forum ends with renewed commitments,” UN News, July 17, 2018,

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