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: Reported U.S. airstrike kills two AQAP militants in Abyan governorate; AQAP video highlights attacks in al Bayda governorate; AQAP militants target al Houthi-Saleh forces in central Yemen; Transitional Political Council members to attend protests in Aden; WHO delivers humanitarian aid to al Hudaydah port; Saudi-led coalition airstrikes strike military and infrastructure targets in northern Yemen; al Houthi-Saleh forces kill coalition soldier on Yemeni-Saudi border

Horn of Africa: U.S. airstrike targets al Shabaab militants in Kunya Barrow, Lower Shabelle region; al Shabaab clashes with SNA and AMISOM forces in Gedo region; al Shabaab attacks security forces in Mogadishu; al Shabaab claims attacks on AMISOM forces in southern Somalia; al Shabaab assassinates security officers in Galkayo, Mudug region

Yemen Security Brief

A reported U.S. airstrike killed two al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants, including local commander Ibrahim al Adani, in Abyan governorate, southern Yemen on July 1. The militants were traveling by motorcycle in Wadi al Milh village, northern al Wuday district at the time of the strike. Suspected American warplanes dropped leaflets requesting information on AQAP leadership in Ataq city, Shabwah governorate on June 30. The leaflets offer a reward of $20,000 for information on AQAP emir Qasim al Raymi, head bombmaker Ibrahim Asiri, spokesperson Khaled al Batarfi, and Shabwah emir Sa’ad Atef al Awlaki. A U.S. airstrike killed Abu Khattab Saleh Baleed al Awlaki, a close companion of Sa’ad Atef, in Shabwah governorate on June 16.[1]

AQAP released a video depicting attacks on al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen on July 2. The video featured footage of attacks in al Jamajim on June 12 and 20, al ‘Aqla on May 14, al Hasir on April 27, al Zahir on April 28, al Sawma’ah on April 20, and al Tayab on April 28. AQAP released most of this footage in earlier propaganda pieces. The video also features speeches from AQAP spokesmen Khaled Batarfi and Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi. They emphasized the sectarian nature of the Yemeni conflict and accused the U.S. of helping the Iranian-backed al Houthis to wage war on Yemen’s Sunni population.[2] 

AQAP militants threw three hand grenades targeting al Houthi-Saleh fighters near Damt city in al Dhaleh governorate, central Yemen on July 3. AQAP militants conducted a grenade attack on al Houthi-Saleh forces in Damt on May 14. AQAP militants also ambushed al Houthi-Saleh forces in Dhi Na’im, central al Bayda governorate on July 3.[3]

Members of the Transitional Political Council for the South are preparing for an organized protest in Aden city on July 7. This date commemorates the end of Yemen’s 1994 civil war, in which southern governorates tried and failed to secede from the Republic of Yemen led by former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh. The protest will advocate for southern independence and condemn Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s dismissal of three governors connected to the Council on June 28. Al Zubaidi, Vice President Hani Ali bin Brik, council member and journalist Lufi Shatara, and Deputy Governor of Aden Adnan al Kaf arrived in Aden city from the UAE on July 3.[4]

The World Health Organization (WHO) delivered 400 tons of humanitarian and medical supplies to al Hudaydah port, western Yemen on July 2. The Saudi-led coalition has limited humanitarian access to the port, which is administered by the al Houthi-Saleh faction, for over a year. The shipment includes ambulances and supplies to combat cholera. The WHO reported 252,816 suspected cholera cases and 1,560 associated deaths in 21 Yemeni governorates since late April. Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghir allocated approximately $1.6 million on July 1 for cholera treatment in southern governorates. Taiz city’s largest government hospital reopened several departments on July 3 with support from Doctors Without Borders.[5]

The Saudi-led coalition conducted several airstrikes on al Houthi-Saleh military and infrastructure targets. Seven coalition airstrikes struck al Houthi-Saleh positions and weapons stores in southern Sana’a city on July 3. Coalition airstrikes killed 12 al Houthi-Saleh fighters in al Matan district, al Jawf governorate, northern Yemen on July 2. The Saudi-led coalition also launched three airstrikes targeting water storage tanks and a desalination station on Kamaran island, al Hudaydah governorate.[6]

Al Houthi-Saleh forces killed a Saudi-led coalition soldier on Saudi Arabia’s southern border with Yemen on July 2. The governor of Tabuk governorate, northwest Saudi Arabia offered condolences to the family of the soldier, Mohammed Saud Faraj al Balawi. His death marks 24 Saudi-led coalition deaths in border clashes since May 10, 2017.[7]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

A reported U.S. airstrike targeted al Shabaab militants in Kunya Barrow, Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia on July 2. The U.S. has not yet confirmed the strike. This strike, if confirmed, marks the second U.S. airstrike targeting al Shabaab since U.S. President Donald Trump designated parts of Somalia as an area of active hostilities. A U.S. airstrike struck an al Shabaab “command and logistics node” in Sakow, Middle Jubba region on June 11.[8]  

Al Shabaab militants ambushed Somali National Army (SNA) and Ethiopian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops in southern Somalia on July 2. The SNA and AMISOM forces conducting an improvised explosive device (IED)-clearing operation between Garbaharey town and Birta Dher, Gedo region. SNA commanders claimed security forces killed fourteen al Shabaab militants in the clashes.[9]

Al Shabaab militants conducted several attacks in Mogadishu on July 1-2. An al Shabaab militant threw a grenade at Mogadishu Stabilization Force officers in Bakara Market, Mogadishu, Somalia on July 2, killing two civilians and wounding four others. Al Shabaab detonated a car bomb targeting a businessman at al Bakara Junction in Mogadishu, Somalia on July 2. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the assassination of a SNA soldier in Haru district, Mogadishu on July 1. Al Shabaab also detonated an IED targeting a minibus on the outskirts of Mogadishu on July 2, killing two civilians and wounding six others.[10]

Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for an attack targeting AMISOM forces in Qoryooley, Lower Shabelle region on July 2. Al Shabaab also claimed to kill three Kenyan AMISOM soldiers in Tabtu town, Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia on July 2.[11]

Al Shabaab militants assassinated three Puntland security officers in Galkayo, Mudug region, central Somalia from June 30 to July 1. Local sources reported four assassinations in Galkayo in a 24-hour period. Galkayo police warned of impending al Shabaab attacks on June 22, one day after rival administrations signed a peace agreement in the city.[12] 

[1] “Drone Launches Several Strikes on Armed Militants in Abyan,” Al Masdar Online, July 2, 2017,; “Abyan: AQAP Leader Ibrahim al Adani Killed,” Barakish, July 2, 2017,; “Two suspected al Qaeda militants killed in Yemen drone strike,” Reuters, July 2, 2017,; and “America Returns to Searching for the AQAP Shabwah emir after it Announced his Death Recently,” Barakish, July 1, 2017,
[2] “AQAP VIDEO SHOWS ATTACKS ON HOUTHI POSITIONS IN SIX AREAS IN AL BAYDA,” SITE, July 2, 2017, available by subscription at; Dr. Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, July 2, 2017,; “Gulf of Aden Security Review” AEI’s Critical Threats Project, June 20, 2017,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review” AEI’s Critical Threats Project, June 6, 2017,
[3] AQAP claimed its militants killed al Houthi-Saleh forces in Grenade Attack, Telegram, July 3; and AQAP claimed it Ambushed al Houthi-Saleh Crew in Dhi Na’im, Telegram, July 3.
[4] “URGENT: Transitional Council leaders en route to Aden capital from Abu Dhabi.” Aden Lange, July 3,; and “Gulf of Aden Security Review,” AEI’s Critical Threats Project, June 30, 2017,
[5] WHO Yemen, Twitter, July 2, 2017,; and “Bin Daghir Directs 400 Million Riyals to Face Cholera in the Governorates of around Aden,” Barakish, July 2, 2017,; and “MSF has secured the reopening of sections of the General Hospital in Taiz, a week after its closure, with the exception of the emergency department,” Al Masdar Online, July 3, 2017,
[6] “Coalition fighters bomb sites and weapons stores in Mount Eban west of the capital Sanaa,” Al Masdar Online, July 3, 2017,; “12 al Houthis Killed in Coalition Airstrikes in al Jawf,” Aden Lange, July 2, 2017,; and “Coalition fighters targeted three tank raids and a water desalination project on Kamaran Island,” Al Masdar Online, July 2, 2017,
[7] “Saudi Soldier Killed on the Southern Border with Yemen,” Aden Lange, July 3, 2017,; and “Emir of Tabuk Region Conveys his Condolences to the Family of Sergeant Mohammed al Balawi,” Saudi Press Agency, July 2, 2017,
[8] Ryan Browne, Twitter, July 3, 2017,; Morad News, Twitter, July 3, 2017,; and “Pentagon Statement on Somalia Strike,” U.S. Department of Defense, June 11, 2017,
[9] Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 3, 2017,; Al Shabaab claims attacks in Gedo region, Telegram, July 3, 2017; and “Somalia: Allied forces clash with al-Shabaab in Gedo region,” Garowe Online, July 3, 2017,
[10] Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 2, 2017,; Harun Maruf, Twitter, July 2, 2017,; al Shabaab claims to assassinate SNA soldier in Mogadishu, Telegram, July 1, 2017; and “Roadside bomb kills two near Somalia's capital Mogadishu,” Reuters, July 2, 2017,
[11] Al Shabaab claims attack in Qoryooley, Telegram, July 2, 2017.
[12] Morad News, Twitter, July 1, 2017,

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