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 launch third drone attack against Saudi airport in three days; AQAP releases video featuring former Islamic State in Yemen prisoner

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab militant attempts SVEST attack on ASWJ leadership in Galgudud region; AFRICOM conducts airstrike against Islamic State militants in Puntland

Yemen Security Brief

Saudi Air Defense Forces intercepted an al Houthi drone targeting the Najran Regional Airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia on May 23. This is the third al Houthi drone attack against the airport in three days.[1]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a video criticizing the Islamic State in Yemen on May 21. The video features an interview with a former Islamic State militant who was imprisoned by the Islamic State before escaping to AQAP-held territory. AQAP has clashed with the Islamic State in al Bayda governorate in central Yemen in recent months.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

An al Shabaab militant attempted to detonate a suicide vest (SVEST) during a meeting of the leadership of Ahlu Sunna wa al Jama’a (ASWJ), a Somali Sufi group, in Guriel town in Galgudud region in central Somalia on May 23. ASWJ security forces detained the militant before he could detonate his vest. Galmudug state president Ahmed Duale Gelle was present at the meeting along with senior Sufi religious leaders and politicians.[3]

United States Africa Command (US AFRICOM) conducted an airstrike targeting Islamic State in Somalia militants in the Golis Mountains in Puntland state in northern Somalia on May 22. The strike killed two militants. AFRICOM has conducted five airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Puntland since April.[4]


[1] “The intercepting of a Houthi aircraft over Najran, Khabar Agency, May 23, 2019,; and “UN Secretary-General condemns attacks on Saudi Airport in Najran,” Emirates News Agency, May 23, 2019,

[2] “AQAP-affiliate releases video featuring former IS fighter, detonation of IS prisons in Yemen,” SITE Intelligence Group, May 23, 2019, English translation available by subscription at

[3] Harun Maruf, Twitter, May 23, 2019,; and “Galmudug forces thwarted man with suicide vest at ceremony,” Mustaqbal Radio, May 23, 2019,

[4] “ISIS-Somalia Degraded by Precision Airstrike,” United States Africa Command, May 23, 2019,

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