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 Houthis reportedly release 43 AQAP prisoners; al Houthis condemn Germany’s designation of Hezbollah as terrorist organization; Islamic State in Yemen condemns al Qaeda’s choices following Arab Spring

Yemen Security Brief:

The al Houthi movement reportedly released 43 al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) prisoners on April 30. The al Houthi movement allegedly directed the released prisoners to conduct attacks against the Transitional Political Council of the South (STC) in Aden city in southern Yemen after meeting with AQAP leaders in the Yemeni capital Sana’a, according to unidentified sources in Yemeni local media. The al Houthi movement has reportedly previously released AQAP prisoners to support fighting forces aligned with the internationally recognized Yemeni government in al Bayda governorate in southern Yemen in April 2018.[1]

The al Houthi movement released a statement on April 30 condemning Germany’s crackdown on Lebanese Hezbollah, expressing solidarity with the organization. Germany designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization on April 30 and raided its affiliated mosques in northern Germany. Iran and Hezbollah have helped al Houthi militants develop their media, military tactics, and political organization.[2]

The Islamic State in Yemen released a documentary on April 29 lecturing on how al Qaeda has deviated from its path following the 2011 Arab Spring. The documentary condemned AQ for expressing support for new governments in northern Africa and for interacting with Shi’a Muslims. The Islamic State urged al Qaeda militants to defect to the Islamic State.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief:

There is nothing significant to report.

[1] “The Houthis release 43 members of Al-Qaeda to carry out terrorist operations in Aden,” Al Mashhad al Khaleeji, April 30, 2020,; and “Yemen’s Houthis release 18 Al-Qaeda fighters,” Middle East Monitor, April 17, 2018,

[2] “Houthis condemn Germany’s crackdown on Hezbollah, expresses solidarity with group,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 30, 2020, available by subscription at; Ivana Kottasová, Frederik Pleitgen and Nadine Schmidt, “Germany bans Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and raids mosques and homes,” CNN, April 30, 2020,; and Katherine Zimmerman, “Iran’s man in Yemen and the al Houthis,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, January 17, 2020, “

[3] “IS fighters in Yemen explain AQ’s “deviation following Arab Spring in video documentary,” SITE Intelligence Group, April 30, 2020, available by subscription at; and Kalissa Azooz and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – April 29, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, April 29, 2020,

View Citations
Arrow down red
May '20
Apr '20