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: The Saudi-led coalition reopens al Hudaydah port and Sana’a International Airport; AQAP claims breaking al Houthi-Saleh offensive in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen; suspected AQAP militants assassinate government employee in Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen; Emirati-backed security forces offer reward for information about AQAP militants in Shabwah governorate, eastern Yemen

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab denies U.S airstrike targeted camp, killed over 100 militants; IED kills Somali soldier in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

The Saudi-led coalition announced on November 22 its intent to open al Hudaydah port and Sana’a airport for humanitarian aid. Humanitarian flights to Sana’a International Airport resumed on November 22, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). A Russian plane carrying diplomats also arrived at the airport on November 22. The Saudi-led coalition imposed a blockade on Yemen’s air and sea ports on November 5 following the al Houthi-Saleh ballistic rocket intercepted over Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on November 4.[1]

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants broke al Houthi-Saleh offensives on multiple sites in al Bayda governorate on November 20, according to a pro-AQAP channel. Militants attacked al Houthi-Saleh forces in Yakla, Nawfan, and al Jasima areas, northwestern al Bayda governorate, central Yemen. Al Houthi-Saleh news outlets did not corroborate AQAP’s claim.[2]

Suspected AQAP militants assassinated the local Head of Communications Omar Saleh Lardhi outside the government complex in al Qatan district, Hadramawt governorate, eastern Yemen on November 22. AQAP militants frequently target government and security officials in Hadramawt.[3]

Emirati-backed Shabwani Elite Forces offered financial rewards for information about AQAP militants in al Hawta town, Mayfa’a district, central Shabwah governorate, eastern Yemen on November 22. Shabwani forces began an offensive against AQAP strongholds in al Hawta on November 10.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

Al Shabaab’s spokesman Abdul Aziz Abu Mus’ab denied reports that the U.S. conducted an airstrike targeting one of its camps. U.S. Africa Command issued a statement claiming to have killed over 100 al Shabaab militants in the November 21 airstrike in Bay region, south of Somalia’s capital. The camp was in Leb-Adde, east of Dinsor, in Bay region. The Federal Government of Somalia requested the strike.[5]

An improvised explosive device killed at least one Somalia National Army (SNA) soldier in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on November 22. The blast occurred when Mogadishu Stabilization forces triggered the device in the Tarabunka intersection in Hodan district.[6]

[1] “Leadership of the coalition decide to reopen al Hudaydah port and Sana’a airport,” Saudi Press Agency, November 22, 2017,; “Resumption of humanitarian flights at Sana’a International Airport,” Al Masdar, November 22, 2017,; “Aid flights resume into Yemen’s rebel-held capital,” Andalou Agency, November 22, 2017,; “Resumption of aid flights and arrival of Russian diplomats at Sana’a International Airport,” Saba News, November 22, 2017,; and “Yemen’s Houthis say Sanaa airport repaired, ready for flights,” Reuters, November 21, 2017,
[2] Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, November 21, 2017,; and AQAP launch advanced campaign on al Houthi movement forces, Telegram, November 21, 2017.
[3] “Unknown gunmen assassinate director of communications in Qatan,” Al Masdar, November 22, 2017,; “Citizens speak about assassination in Qatan, Hadramawt,” Aden Lang, November 22, 2017,; “Assassination in Qatan, Hadramawt,” Al Masirah, November 22, 2017,; Demolinari, Twitter, November 22, 2017,; and Elisabeth Kendall, Twitter, November 22, 2017,
[4] “Shabwani Elite Forces offer reward for information about AQAP militants,” Aden Tomorrow, November 22, 2017,; and “Reward for information about al Qaeda members in Shabwah,” Aden Lang, November 22, 2017,
[5] U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs, “U.S. Conducts Airstrike in Support of the Federal Government of Somalia,” press release, November 21, 2017,; “Shabaab Military Spokesman Denies 100+ Fighters Killed in U.S. Airstrike on Training Camp, SITE Intelligence Group, November 21, 2017, available at; Abdi Sheikh, “Somalia Says It Requested US Air Strike Which Killed 100 Militants,” Reuters, November 22, 2017,; and Harun Maruf, Twitter, November 21, 2017,
[6] “Somalia: Landmine Blast in Mogadishu Kills 1 Soldier,” Garowe Online, November 22, 2017,
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