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: AQAP conducts complex attack on military compound near Aden International Airport; al Houthi forces launch rocket attacks in Ma’rib city; al Houthi security forces release Yemeni Jews; government forces clash with al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Jawf governorate; al Houthi fighters brawl with supporters of former President Saleh in Dhamar

Horn of Africa: Alleged al Shabaab member arrested at Frankfurt Airport, Germany; suspected al Shabaab militants conduct grenade attack in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) conducted a complex attack on the al Solban Central Security headquarters compound on July 6 in Khormaksar district, Aden city near Aden International Airport. AQAP claimed that the attack was intended as revenge for bombings in Abyan and Lahij. Two militants detonated suicide vehicle-born improvised explosive devices (SVBIED) at the compound’s main entrance at dawn, and approximately 20 militants attacked government forces at a second entrance with small arms fire. The attack killed at least six Yemeni troops and 20 militants. Aden International Airport was temporarily closed following the attack.[1]
  • Al Houthi forces launched Katyusha rockets at multiple targets on July 5 in the al Ziraya neighborhood of Ma’rib city, Ma’rib governorate, killing at least seven children and injuring 17 others.[2]
  • Al Houthi security forces released several Yemeni Jews who were arrested in March 2016 for smuggling a historical Torah out of Yemen to Israel. One Jewish Israeli citizen remains in custody in Amran governorate.[3]
  • Government forces clashed with al Houthi-Saleh forces in Khab wa Sha’af, al Jawf governorate for more than 48 hours. Government and resistance fighters repelled al Houthi advances, according to pro-government sources. Saudi-led coalition warplanes also provided air support to government forces attacking al Houthi positions in Ham, al Jawf governorate on July 5.[4]
  • Al Houthi fighters brawled with supporters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh at a community center in Dhamar city, Dhamar governorate after the Saleh supporters attempted to raise the flag of the General People’s Congress (GPC) party, which is led by former President Saleh. Soldiers aligned with the Republican Guard, an elite military formation loyal to former President Saleh, also protested unpaid salaries in Dhamar city on July 4. Al Houthi fighters attempted to disperse the protest. The al Houthis and former President Saleh are currently allied against President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government, but they are not natural partners. Al Houthi forces revolted against former President Saleh in 2011.[5]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • German security forces arrested an alleged al Shabaab member at the Frankfurt Airport on July 5. German citizen Abshir Ahmed had traveled to Somalia in 2012 and acquired weapons and military training. Security forces arrested Abshir Ahmed on charges of planning an act of violence.[6]
  • Suspected al Shabaab militants conducted a grenade assault on a market in Mogadishu on July 5. The attackers tossed the grenade into a crowded marketplace from a moving vehicle, injuring at least 10 civilians.[7]

[1] “At least 26 killed in South Yemen army base attack: sources,” Reuters, July 6, 2016,; "Aden: a dual attack on the camp Alsolban and hostage-taking - full details," Barakish, July 6, 2016,; “The full story on the attack on the central security force base in Aden (photos), Aden al Ghad, July 6, 2016,; "Fact of the closure of Aden International Airport, cancellation of all flights," Akhbar al Yemen, July 6, 2016; and AQAP Claims Attack at Solban Camp in Aden, Strikes on Houthis in al-Bayda' and Ibb, SITE Intelligence Group, July 6, 2016,
[2] "The Houthis commit the massacre with 17 child casualties in the city of Ma’rib," Barakish, July 6, 2016,
[3] “Jews arrested in Yemen released from custody,” Arutz Sheva, July 6, 2016,
[4] “Army forces loyal to the legitimate government repulsed the fourth al Houthi attack in 48 hours in northern al Jawf governorate,” al Masdar, July 6, 2016,; and “National army advances towards al Houthi base in al Matoun and coalition planes assist the attack,” al Masdar, July 6, 2016,
[5] “Clashes between supporters of Saleh and Houthis in Dhamar and soldiers cut off the city streets demanding the departure of al Houthis,” al Masdar, July 6, 2016,
[6] Ruth Bender, “Suspected Al-Shabaab member Arrested at Frankfurt Airport,” The Wall Street Journal, July 5, 2016,
[7] “Grenade attack injures ten people in busy Mogadishu Market,” Goobjoog News, July 5, 2016,
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