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: UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs suggests prolonged Saudi-led coalition presence may be necessary in Yemen; Emirati forces destroy two al Houthi ships in the Red Sea; al Houthi forces fire a Zilzal 2 ballistic missile targeting Saudi-led coalition-backed forces along Yemen’s Red Sea Coast; suspected al Houthi forces detonate an IED in al Tuhayta district, al Hudaydah governorate

Horn of Africa: Reported U.S. airstrike targets al Shabaab base in southern Somalia; ISIS militants assassinate police officer in Mogadishu; al Shabaab militants detonate IED targeting Somali National Army vehicle in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash suggested a prolonged Saudi-led coalition presence in Yemen may be necessary after the coalition defeats the al Houthi movement in an interview with Defense One on May 21. Gargash added that al Houthi forces are weakening and expressed support for UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths’ efforts to reach a political solution to the conflict.[1] 

Emirati forces destroyed two al Houthi ships suspected of threatening a commercial oil tanker in the Red Sea on May 23. Two other al Houthi vessels managed to escaped, according to Emirati sources. Al Houthi forces have targeted Saudi-led coalition commercial vessels in the Red Sea and the Bab al Mandab Strait.[2]

Al Houthi forces launched a Zilzal 2 ballistic missile targeting Saudi-led coalition-backed forces in an unspecified area along Yemen’s Red Sea coast on May 23. The al Houthi movement has previously fired ballistic missiles targeting coalition and coalition-backed forces in al Mokha district in Taiz governorate, along Yemen’s southern Red Sea coast.[3]

Suspected al Houthi forces detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) near al Hima port in Tuhayta district, southwestern al Hudaydah governorate on May 22. The IED attack killed three civilians. Emirati-backed forces seized al Hima port from al Houthi forces as part of an offensive to seize control of southern al Hudaydah on May 13.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

A reported U.S. airstrike targeted an al Shabaab base near Arbiska village in Lower Shabelle, southern Somalia on May 23. The U.S. last conducted an airstrike targeting al Shabaab in Barire district in Lower Shabelle on May 9.[5] 

Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) claimed its militants assassinated a police officer in Bakara Market in Mogadishu on March 22. ISIS has assassinated three other Somali government personnel in Bakara Market in May.[6]

Al Shabaab militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a Somali National Army (SNA) vehicle in Mogadishu on May 22. Al Shabaab claimed that the blast killed six SNA soldiers.[7]

[1] “Houthis ‘Softening,’ But UAE Minister Says Yemen Security Could Still Require Foreign Troops,” Defense One, May 21, 2018,
[2] “UAE Armed Forces destroy two Houthi militias boats in Red Sea Coast,” WAM, May 23, 2018,
[3] “Launch of a Zilzal 2 missile on the mercenaries in the west coast front,” Al Masirah, May 23, 2018,; and “Launch of a Zilzal 2 missile and artillery shells at mercenary groups on the west coast front,” Saba, May 23, 2018,
[4] “Three civilians killed by an explosive device south of al Hudaydah,” Al Masdar, May 22, 2018,; and “Three killed in a bomb explosion south of al Hudaydah, Yemen,” Erem News, May 23, 2018,
[5] “Suspected US jets carry out airstrike in southern Somalia,” Radio Shabelle, May 23, 2018,
[6] “ISIS Claims Assassination Of Policeman in Mogadishu, Releases Photos To Prove,” Radio Dalsan, May 22, 2018,; and “Policeman Shot Dead At Baqara Market,” Radio Dalsan, May 22, 2018,
[7] “Shabaab claims killing 12 Somali Elite Forces in suicide bombing near capital,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 22, 2018, available by subscription at

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