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: Hadi government supports President Trump’s Iran decision; al Houthi forces launch ballistic missiles targeting Riyadh city and Jizan region, Saudi Arabia; AQAP and ISIS attack al Houthi forces in al Bayda

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab stones woman to death in southern Somalia; ISIS militants assassinate intelligence officer in Mogadishu; al Shabaab assassinates four Somali soldiers in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

Abdul Malik al Mikhlafi, the Foreign Minister of Yemen’s internationally recognized government under Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, welcomed U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on May 9. The statement claimed that the agreement failed to protect the interests of the United States and Yemen.[1]

Al Houthi forces launched at least two Burkan 2H ballistic missiles at economic targets in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, on May 9. Al Houthi forces also launched a Badr 1 short-range ballistic missile targeting a Saudi air defenses camp in Jizan region in southwestern Saudi Arabia on May 9. Al Houthi Brigadier General Aziz Rashed warned the al Houthi movement will escalate ballistic missile strikes against Saudi Arabia on May 8, in response to Saudi-led coalition airstrikes on the al Houthi presidential palace on May 7. Saudi air defenses intercepted two ballistic missiles in Riyadh and one in Jizan on May 9, according to Saudi-led coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al Maliki.[2] 

Both al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) claimed attacks against al Houthi forces in al Bayda, a governorate in central Yemen southeast of the country’s capital, Sana’a. AQAP attacked al Houthi forces in Walad Rabi'a district in northern Qayfa area in al Bayda’s northwest on May 7, according to pro-AQAP social media channels. AQAP claimed the attack killed twelve al Houthi forces and injured others. Local sources reported the same AQAP attack as tribes defending villages. ISIS claimed an attack against al Houthi forces in Yakal village in Walad Rabi'a district on May 7 through formal ISIS media channels. The statement claimed to push back against an al Houthi advance on Yakal.[3]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

An al Shabaab court stoned a woman to death in Sabale town, southern Lower Shabelle, southern Somalia on May 9. The court accused the woman of marrying 11 times without seeking any divorces. Al Shabaab stoned a woman accused a similar crime to death in Barawe town on Somalia’s coast in Lower Shabelle region, south of Mogadishu, in 2014.[4]

Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) militants assassinated a Somali intelligence officer in Bakara market, Mogadishu on May 7. ISIS’s Amaq News channel released a video of the attack on its Telegram account. ISIS has claimed four other assassinations targeting Somali security forces since April 15.[5]

Al Shabaab militants assassinated four Somali troops in Mogadishu on May 8 and May 9. Al Shabaab targeted an officer in Wido area on May 8 and three other soldiers in Yaqshid district on May 9. Al Shabaab frequently attacks Somali government personnel in the capital.[6]

[1] “Yemen welcomes President Trump's decision to withdraw from Iran's nuclear deal,” al Masdar, May 9, 2018,
[2] “Breaking: Launch of a batch of ballistic missile on economic targets in Riyadh,” Saba, May 9, 2018,; Iran-aligned Houthis in Yemen fire missiles at Saudi capital,” Reuters, May 9, 2018,; “Badr 1 missile targets air defenses camp in Jizan,” Saba, May 9, 2018,; “Joint Coalition Forces Command RSADF Destroy Ballistic Missile Fired on Jizan,” SPA, May 9, 2018,; and “Aziz Rashed: This will be the response to the bombing of the presidential office in Sana’a,” Al Fajr Al Jadid, May 8, 2018,
[3] “Local press report the same AQAP battle as tribal action to protect villages,” Twitter, May 9, 2018,; “ISIS and AQAP claim battles in Qayfa and Yakla, al Bayda against al Houthis,” Twitter, May 8, 2018,; and “ISIS and AQAP claim battles in Qayfa and Yakla, al Bayda against al Houthis,” Twitter, May 8, 2018,
[4] “Woman stoned to death in Somalia after al-Shabab conviction,” Associated Press, May 9, 2018,; “Somali militants 'stone woman to death for marrying 11 times',” Daily Nation, May 9, 2018,; and
[5] “‘Amaq releases video of IS fighter assassinating Somali intel agent in Mogadishu’s Bakara market,” SITE Intel Group, May 7, 2018, available by subscription at; and “Somalia ISIL claims attacks in Mogadishu,” Mareeg, May 9, 2018,
[6] Al Shabaab assassinates an officer in Mogadishu, Telegram, May 8, 2018; and Al Shabaab assassinates three soldiers in Mogadishu, Telegram, May 9, 2018.

View Citations
Arrow down red
Jun '18
May '18
Apr '18