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 fire two ballistic missiles at Riyadh; al Houthi forces indicate willingness to withdraw from al Hudaydah port; Saudi-led coalition forces claim to kill Lebanese Hezbollah members in Sa’ada governorate

Horn of AfricaGrenade explodes at rally for Ethiopia’s prime minister; U.S.-backed Somali forces seize town and bridge between Kismayo and Jamaame, Lower Jubba region; al Shabaab attacks Qoryoleytown, Lower Shabelle region; Somali PM denies Ethiopia will hold shares in Somali ports

Yemen Security Brief

Al Houthi forces fired two ballistic missiles at the Saudi Ministry of Defense’s data center in the capital city of Riyadh in central Saudi Arabia on June 24. Saudi air defense forces intercepted the missiles, but debris fell near the U.S. mission in Riyadh, a school, and a private residence. The missile caused no casualties, according to Saudi officials.[1]

Al Houthi officials indicated that they are willing to transfer complete management of  al Hudaydah port to the UN. UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths met with al Houthi officials to discuss the proposal in Sana’a city northern Yemen on June 16 and will meet with Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi in Aden city on June 27. UN officials would oversee income earned from the port and ensure its transfer to the Yemeni Central Bank under the proposal. The U.S. is urging Saudi Arabia and the UAE to accept the deal. The coalition is still reviewing the proposal. Foreign Minister Khaled al Yamani said that the Hadi government would accept the proposal if al Houthis withdraw from Yemen’s Red Sea coast on June 25. Emirati-backed forces clashed with al Houthi forces near al Hudaydah University, located along the coastal road which links the airport to the port, on June 24. [2]

The Saudi-led coalition claimed to kill eight Lebanese Hezbollah members in Maran, Sa’ada governorate, northwest Yemen on June 25..  Hadi government forces also claimed to have captured an al Houthi commander alongside seven Hezbollah members after clashes in al Malahit district, southwestern Sa’ada governorate on June 25  

Horn of Africa Security Brief

An unknown attacker detonated a grenade at a rally for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Meskel Square, Addis Ababa on June 23. The explosion killed two people and injured 156. The rally’s organizer stated that the suspect had aimed the grenade near the prime minister. Ethiopian authorities have not labeled the attack an assassination attempt, however. The police arrested thirty suspects and detained nine police officers on account of their alleged responsibility in the “security lapse.” Ethiopian authorities have not disclosed the identities or affiliations of the suspects. The U.S. reportedly agreed to send FBI experts to support Ethiopia’s investigation into the attack.[4]

Somali National Army (SNA) troops backed by U.S. special forces attacked al Shabaab targets in Arare town, located between Kismayo and Jamaame in Lower Jubba region, southern Somalia. The SNA and U.S. forces seized the town, forcing the al Shabaab militants to retreat. The SNA killed seven al Shabaab militants, including a Tanzanian fighter, while seizing the Arare bridge on June 25. The Arare bridge is a strategic bridge over the Jubba river located near the al Shabaab-held town of Jamaame.[5]

Al Shabaab attacked Qoryoley town, Lower Shabelle region on June 24. Security forces killed five al Shabaab militants in the ensuing gunfight. Local officials beheaded the al Shabaab commander of the operation after capturing him alive.[6]

Somalia’s Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire denied granting shares of Somali ports to landlocked Ethiopia on June 21. Khaire stated that “ports belong to Somali people”while speaking to a Somali audience in Oslo, Norway. Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced they would jointly invest in four Somali seaports during a June 16 meeting in Mogadishu. The announcement prompted backlash in Somalia.[7]

[1] “Saudi air defense downs Houthi missile over Riyadh,” Al Masdar News, June 24, 2018,; “Saudi says two Houthi missiles were intercepted over Riyadh,” Al Jazeera, June 24, 2018,; and Stephen Kalin and Mohammed Ghobari, “UN Envoy due in Yemen as Strains Escalate with Houthi Missile Launch,” Reuters, June 25, 2018,
[2] Yara Bayoumy, Warren Strobel, Jonathan Landay, “Yemen’s Houthis indicate willingness to hand over port to U.N.: sources,” Reuters, June 21, 2018,; Stephen Kalin and Mohammed Ghobari, “UN Envoy due in Yemen as Strains Escalate with Houthi Missile Launch,” Reuters, June 25, 2018,; Mohammed Ghobari, “Fighting moves closer to centre of Yemen’s main port city, missiles fired at Riyadh,” Reuters, June 24, 2018,; and “Houthi Militia Planted one million landmines in Yemen: official,” The Baghdad Post, June 25, 2018,
[3] “Saudi-Led coalition kills 8 Hezbollah Fighters,” Gulf News, June 25, 2018,; Stephen Kalin and Mohammed Ghobari, “UN Envoy due in Yemen as Strains Escalate with Houthi Missle Launch,” Reuters, June 25, 2018,; Muhammed Hasan Sha'ab, “Army forces capture Houthi leader and 7 Hezbollah experts in Saada,” September 26, June 25, 2018,; and "Several 'Hezbollah' members killed, arrested in Yemen," Asharq Al-Awsat, June 25, 2018,;
[4] Hadra Ahmed, “Deadly grenade attack at Ethiopian Prime Minister’s rally,” New YorkTimes, June 23, 2018,; “U.S. to send FBI experts to investigate Ethiopia blast,” Reuters, June 25, 2018,; “Ethiopia: 30 people arrested for alleged ties to blast,” VOA, June 24, 2018,; “Ethiopia: Two dead and dozens hurt in grenade attack at pro-PM rally,” BBC, June 24, 2018,; and Colin Dwyer and Eyder Peralta, “Grenade attack tears through rally for Ethiopian prime minister,” NPR, June 23, 2018,
[5] “Somalia, US especial forces seize key town from al Shabaab,” Mareeg, June 24, 2018,; “Somali army kills 7 al-Shabab militants in southern region,” Xinhua, June 25, 2018,; “Somali military says they’ve killed 7 al Shabab militants including a foreign fighter from Tanzania in an operation that led to seizure of the key Arare bridge N of Kismayo,” Harun Maruf, Twitter, June 25, 2018,; and “Somali military claims to have killed 7 al Shabab members + Tanzanian fighter in fighting near Jamame town,” Mogadishu News, Twitter, June 25, 2018,
[6] “Al Shabaab members killed in Qoryoley fighting,” Radio Shabelle, June 25, 2018,
[7] “Somalia: PM Khaire Denies Port Agreement With Ethiopia,” AllAfrica, June 21, 2018,

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