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 movement claims drone attack on Abha airport in Saudi Arabia; Islamic State in Yemen reaffirms pledge to Baghdadi in video; gunmen attack al Islah party officials in multiple governorates; al Houthi forces shell food plant in al Hudaydah; suspected tribal gunmen set fire to oil wells in Ma’rib

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab attacks SNA and AMISOM forces in Hiraan and Middle Shabelle regions; AFRICOM airstrike kills Islamic State militant in Puntland; al Shabaab claims registration of 159 clan leaders in southern and central Somalia; al Shabaab releases video documenting attack on Jubbaland officials

Yemen Security Brief

The al Houthi movement claimed a drone attack on Abha airport in Asir region in southwestern Saudi Arabia on July 28. Saudi authorities have not confirmed the attack.[1]

The Islamic State in Yemen released a video on July 27 in which a militant discusses the group’s history of operations against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al Houthi forces, and the Saudi-led coalition. Islamic State in Yemen militants also renewed their pledge of allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in the video.[2]

Unidentified gunmen attempted to kill officials in the Islamist al Islah party in three separate attacks in Yemen between July 25 and July 28. Gunmen on motorbikes killed the director of al Islah’s charity services, Khalid Ghayman, in Dhaleh governorate in central Yemen on July 25. Gunmen also wounded an al Islah activist in Taiz city in southwestern Yemen. Gunmen separately killed an al Islah official in Sayun city in Hadramawt governorate in eastern Yemen on July 28.[3]

Al Houthi forces shelled a dairy processing facility in al Hudaydah port city in western Yemen on July 28. The attack killed one civilian and forced the plant to suspend production, according to anti-al Houthi media.[4]

Suspected tribal gunmen set fire to two crude oil wells in Ma’rib governorate in northern Yemen on July 28. The gunmen are suspected of belonging to a tribe that is engaged in a dispute with Yemen’s state-owned oil company.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab militants attacked African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces near Gololey village in Middle Shabelle region in central Somalia on July 27. Al Shabaab militants killed six Burundian AMISOM soldiers in the attack. Al Shabaab militants also attacked a Somali National Army (SNA) and AMISOM convoy near Jalalaqsi town in Hiraan region in central Somalia on July 28. SNA and Djiboutian AMISOM forces repulsed the attack and killed three militants.[6]

United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) conducted an airstrike targeting Islamic State in Somalia militants in the Golis Mountains in northern Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region on July 27. The strike killed one militant, whom AFRICOM assessed had “played a key role in facilitation for the group.”[7]

Al Shabaab claimed on July 29 that 159 clan leaders from Somalia’s Jubbaland, Hirshabelle, South West, and Galmudug states have registered with al Shabaab. Al Shabaab previously released a statement on July 14 warning clan leaders against participating in state elections and giving them 45 days to register with al Shabaab.[8]

Al Shabaab released a video on July 28 documenting an attack on a Jubbaland state government building in Dif village in southern Somalia’s Lower Jubba region. The video shows al Shabaab militants executing a local government official. The video is the fourteenth installment in al Shabaab’s “Disperse those who are behind them” video series.”[9]

Visit our Yemen, Somalia and Saudi Arabia story streams.

[1]Nayera Abdallah, “Yemen’s Houthis target with drones Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport: Houthis’ Al Masirah TV,” Reuters, July 28, 2019,; and Al Masirah TV, Twitter, July 28, 2019,

[2] “IS’ Yemen Province Boasts of its Military Operations since Pledge, Renews Allegiance in Video,” SITE Intelligence Group, July 27, 2019, English translation available online at

[3] Dr. Elizabeth Kendall, Twitter, July 26, 2019,; and “Assassinations return back to the southern provinces after the threats of bin Brik,” Yemen Akhbar, July 28, 2019,

[4] Ali Mahmood, “Yemen’s Houthi rebels attack food factory in Hodeidah,” The National, July 28, 2019.

[5] “Fire breaks out at 2 oil wells in central Yemen after armed attack: source,” Xinhua Net, July 28, 2019,

[6] “Joint AU-Somali offensive killed three al Shabaab militants,” Hiiraan, July 29, 2019,; “Somali, AU troops clash with al Shabaab,” Mareeg, July 28, 2019,; “Six African peacekeeping soldiers killed in Somalia,” Hiiraan, July 29, 2019,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 27, 2019,

[7] “US airstrike targets ISIS-Somalia in support of the Federal Government of Somalia, July 28, 2019,; and “US airstrike kills suspected IS coordinator in Somalia,” Goobjoog, July 29, 2019,

[8] “Al Shabaab released number of elders who registered after their call,” Mustaqbal Radio, July 29, 2019,; “Shabaab threatens Somali tribal elders for facilitating democracy, gives 45 days to repent,” Site Intelligence Group, July 15, 2019, English Translation available by subscription at; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review – July 15, 2019,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, July 15, 2019,

[9] “Shabaab Video Documents Attack on Government Office in Dif, Murder of Former Town Official,” Site Intelligence Group, July 28, 2019, English Translation available by subscription at

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