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: Pro-ISIS militants detonated IED at Zaydi mosque in Sana’a; al Houthi militants continue attacks along Saudi-Yemeni border; unidentified militants fail in assassination attempt on governor of al Hudaydah

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militants capture village in North Eastern Province, Kenya

Yemen Security Brief

  • Pro-Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) militants belonging to ISIS Wilayat Sana’a detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) attack targeting al Houthis at a Zaydi mosque in the capital, Sana’a, on May 22. The attack reportedly wounded 13 people. The same day, suspected pro-ISIS militants detonated a suicide vest (SVEST) targeting a Shi’ite mosque in al Qatif, Saudi Arabia, killing an estimated 20 people and wounding 50 others. It remains unclear if the attacks were coordinated. ISIS militants previously detonated four SVESTS in Yemen at mosques on March 20, killing upwards of 130.[1]
  • Al Houthi militants continued to fire rockets at Saudi targets in al Tawal, Jizan, Saudi Arabia, on May 22. The attack reportedly killed one child and wounded three others. Al Houthi militants also fired rockets at al Dharan, Saudi Arabia, on May 21 killing two Saudi citizens and wounding two others.[2]
  • Unidentified militants attempted to assassinate the governor of al Hudaydah in al Hudaydah city on May 22. The attackers reportedly killed one person, and injured two of the governor’s bodyguards, though he himself was unharmed. No group has claimed credit for the attack.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab militants briefly captured the town of Yumbis, North Eastern Province, Kenya, before being driven out by Kenyan security forces on May 21. In a statement, al Shabaab’s military spokesman, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Abu Mus’ab, claimed that militants still controlled the town, but a Kenyan official alleged that al Shabaab had left the village and that security forces were pursuing them.[4]

[1] “Islamic State claims Yemen mosque attack,” Reuters, May 22, 2015. Available:
“Suicide bomber strikes Saudi Shi’ite mosque, many dead or wounded,” Reuters, May 22, 2015. Available:
“Suicide bomber targets Shiite worshippers in Saudi Arabia,” NY Times, May 22, 2015. Available:
“ISIS Wilayat Sana’a claimed credit for Sana’a attack,” Twitter, Mohammad al Basha, May 22, 2015. Available:
“ISIS in Yemen: Fueling the sectarian fire,” Critical Threats, Alexis Knutsen, March 20, 2015. Available:
[2] “Two Saudis killed in rocket attacks launched from Yemen,” Reuters, May 22, 2015. Available:
“Saudis killed in attack on Dharan,” Barakish, May 22, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[3] “Al Hudaydah governor survives assassination though bodyguards were wounded in the attempt,” Barakish, May 22, 2015 [Arabic]. Available:
[4] “UPDATE 2-Somalia’s al Shabaab fighters attack village in Kenya,” Reuters, May 22. Available:
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