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: Saudi-led coalition announces new operations to retake al Hudaydah port from al Houthi forces; Hadi government Prime Minister announces end to Socotra crisis; al Houthi forces fire two ballistic missiles at Saudi military and economic targets in southwestern Saudi Arabia; AQAP claims victory over Emirati-backed al Hizam security forces in Abyan governorate; al Houthi air defenses shoot down Saudi-led coalition drone in southwestern Saudi Arabia
Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants claim three attacks in southern Somalia; al Shabaab militants claim three attacks in central Somalia; Ethiopian government officials begin talks with exiled political group
Yemen Security Brief
The Saudi-led coalition began new operations to retake al Hudaydah port from al Houthi forces on May 14, according to the commander of coalition forces in Yemen’s Red Sea Coast Brigadier General Abdul Salam al Shehi. Emirati forces launched an amphibious assault dubbed “Operation Red Thunder” to seize an al Houthi command center in along al Hudaydah governorate’s Red Sea coast on May 14. Saudi-led coalition-backed Southern Giants Brigade forces and National Resistance Forces captured al Hima port in al Tuhayat district in southwestern al Hudaydah governorate on May 13. Coalition-backed forces advanced into southern al Hudaydah governorate on May 11 after securing major roadways and cities leading from Taiz governorate to al Hudaydah governorate.
Hadi government Prime Minister Ahmed Bin Daghir announced the end of the Socotra crisis on May 14 following the arrival of Saudi soldiers and a Saudi-Yemeni delegation of military leaders to Socotra Island on May 13. The Saudi-Yemeni delegation arrived to mediate tensions between the UAE and the internationally recognized government under Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi over the Emirati military presence on Socotra Island, according to local sources. The Socotra crisis began on May 2 after the UAE deployed more than 100 soldiers and several armored vehicles to the island. Saudi soldiers arrived to participate in training exercises with Emirati and Yemeni soldiers, according to Saudi-led coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al Maliki.
The al Houthi movement fired two ballistic missiles at Saudi military and economic targets in , southwestern Saudi Arabia. Al Houthi forces fired one missile at a Saudi ARAMCO distribution center on May 14 and another at Saudi-led coalition soldiers at al Darb military camp on May 11. Saudi air defenses intercepted the May 11 missile, according to Saudi-led coalition spokesman Colonel Turki Al Maliki. Al Maliki reported that the May 14 missile landed in uninhabited desert area.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed victory over Emirati-backed al Hizam Security Forces on May 14 after three days of clashes in starting on May 10. AQAP militants claimed to kill and injure dozens of al Hizam Security Forces soldiers and destroy several vehicles. Al Hizam Security Forces claimed to clear AQAP militants from Khabr al Muraqisha area on May 11. Khabr al Muraqisha is northeast of Zinjibar city in Abyan governorate in southern Yemen. AQAP frequently conducts attacks against al Hizam Security Forces in Abyan governorate.
Al Houthi air defenses shot down a Saudi-led coalition reconnaissance drone in , southwestern Saudi Arabia on May 14. The al Houthi movement claimed to down two other Saudi-led coalition drones near Jabal al Doud in Jizan “over the past few days.”
Horn of Africa Security Brief
Al Shabaab claimed three attacks in southern Somalia on May 12 and 13. Al Shabaab militants shelled the Turkish military base in on May 12. Al Shabaab emir Ahmed Umar called on militants to attack Turkish forces in April. Al Shabaab militants detonated an IED in Bulo Marir, , southern Somalia on May 12. Al Shabaab militants also detonated a grenade targeting Somali security forces in Mogadishu on May 13.
Al Shabaab claimed three attacks in central Somalia on May 13 and 14. Al Shabaab militants killed several Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers with small arms in Halfouli,AMISOM) forces near Bal’ad, , central Somalia on May 13. Al Shabaab militants also attempted to raid a SNA base near , Hiraan region, central Somalia on May 14., central Somalia on May 13. Al Shabaab militants detonated an IED targeting Burundi African Union Mission in Somalia (
Ethiopian government officials initiated talks with the exiled Oromo Democratic Front (ODF) to ease ethnic tensions on May 13. Oromo activists formed the ODF in 2013 to protest government repression of the Ethiopia’s largest ethnic community. The Ethiopian security forces cracked down on ODF-organized protests in 2015 and 2016, leading to a state of emergency.
 “The Arab alliance declares a large-scale military operation against the Houthis towards al Hudaydah,” Al Masdar, May 14, 2018, http://almasdaronline.com/article/98884; “UAE Armed Forces carried out “Operation Red Thunder,” WAM, May 14, 2018, http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302688849; “Government forces control a military port south of al Hudaydah,” May 13, 2018, http://almasdaronline.com/article/98871; “Breaking Yemeni Army liberates Hima Port,” WAM, May 13, 2018, http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302688644; “The Southern Giants forces with the support of the first brigade of al Hudaydah liberate the strategic Hima port,” Aden Tomorrow, May 13, 2018, http://adengd.net/news/318182/.
 “Prime Minister confirms the end of the Socotra crisis and a return to the situation before April 30,” Saba New, May 14, 2018, http://sabanew.net/viewstory/33153; “Saudi military says troops arrive in Yemen’s Socotra Island,” AP, May 14, 2018, https://apnews.com/8b09a56849ee432890f488a019f61cc7/Saudi-military-says-troops-arrive-in-Yemen's-Socotra-island; and “A Saudi-Yemeni committee arrives in Socotra to resolve the differences between the government and the UAE,” Al Masdar May 13, 2018, http://almasdaronline.com/article/98867.
 “Yemen's Houthis say they fired missile at Saudi Aramco center,” Reuters, May 14, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-security/yemens-houthis-say-they-fired-missile-at-saudi-aramco-center-idUSKCN1IF136; “Badr 1 ballistic demolishes ARAMCO tank in Jizan,” Al Masirah, May 14, 2018, http://almasirah.net/details.php?es_id=23554&cat_id=3; “Leadership of the coalition forces to support the legitimacy in Yemen: Saudi Royal Air Defense forces monitor a ballistic missile fired towards the city of Jazan and fell in a desert area,” SPA, May 14, 2018, https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewfullstory.php?lang=ar&newsid=1765845#1765845; “Badr 1 ballistic missile demolishes al Dard camp in Jizan,” Saba News, May 11, 2018, http://saba.ye/ar/news495870.htm; and “RSADF Destroy Ballistic Missile Fired over Jazan -Joint Coalition Forces Command Announces,” SPA, May 11, 2018, https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewstory.php?lang=en&newsid=1762073.
 “AQAP claims attack on al Hizam Security in al Maraqisha mountains, Abyan governorate,” Telegram, May 14, 2018; “AQAP CLAIMS VICTORY OVER SBF IN 3-DAY CLASH IN ABYAN,” SITE Intel, May 14, 2018, https://ent.siteintelgroup.com/Statements/aqap-claims-victory-over-sbf-in-3-day-clash-in-abyan.html; and Al Hizam Security Forces inflicted heavy losses on al Qaeda,” Aden Tomorrow, May 11, 2018, http://adengd.net/news/317818/.
 “A Saudi reconnaissance plane was shot down in Jizan,” Ansar Allah, May 14, 2018, http://www.ansarollah.com/archives/160837.
 Shabaab Claims Rocket Strike on Turkish Military Base in Mogadishu, SITE, May 12, 2018, available by subscription at ent.siteintelgroup.com; and Al Shabaab claims three attacks in southern Somalia, Telegram, May 13, 2018.
 Al Shabaab claims three attacks in central Somalia, Telegram, May 14, 2018.
 Nizar Manek, “Ethiopia started talks with exiled group, signaling rapproachement,” Bloomberg, May 14, 2018, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-14/ethiopia-starts-talks-with-exiled-group-signaling-rapprochement.