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: ISIS Wilayat Hadramawt joins anti-Israel media blitz; Saudi Brig. Gen. Asiri says military operations will continue; pro-al Houthi forces shell civilian neighborhoods in Taiz; coalition airstrikes target al Houthi sites in Ma’rib

Horn of Africa: Somali officials confirm arrest of two al Shabaab commanders in Qoryoley, Lower Shabelle region; SNA and AMISOM forces capture Wabho, Galgudud region; al Shabaab ambushes AMISOM convoy in El-Gorof area, Galgudud region

Yemen Security Brief

  • The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat Hadramawt media office released a video on October 19 encouraging Palestinians to attack Israelis. ISIS Wilayat Hadramawt is the first Yemeni ISIS affiliate to participate in ISIS’s current anti-Israel media blitz.[1] 
  • Saudi-led coalition spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri stated on October 21 that the coalition will continue its military operations in Yemen in the absence of an official political resolution. Asiri said that ceasing operations at this time would be “premature.” The coalition-backed Yemeni government has agreed to participate in UN-led peace talks at the end of this month.[2]
  • Militias loyal to the al Houthis and former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh fired at least ten Katyusha rockets at residential neighborhoods in Taiz city, central Yemen on October 21. Residents reported a high number of civilian casualties. This attack comes one day after Human Rights Watch released a report condemning al Houthi actions in Taiz. The organization stated that pro-al Houthi forces are illegally confiscating food and medical supplies from civilians, as well as indiscriminately shelling civilian areas. Human Rights Watch noted that reckless or intentional attacks on civilians constitute war crimes under international law.[3]
  • The Saudi-led coalition conducted ten airstrikes on pro-al Houthi positions in near Ma’rib city in Ma’rib governorate, central Yemen on October 21. A coalition-backed effort to push the al Houthis out of Ma’rib governorate stalled following an al Houthi counterattack this week.[4]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Somali police arrested two al Shabaab commanders in Qoryoley, Lower Shabelle region. The arrests took place on October 20, after police received word of the two commanders sneaking into the town, prompting an operation to arrest the two in their homes. Local administrators have since confirmed the successful operation.[5]
  • Joint Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces seized control of Wabho town in the Galgudud region on October 20. The town was previously claimed by al Shabaab, although the militants vacated the area shortly before SNA and AMISOM forces arrived, allowing the government forces to take the town without incident. The town’s capture has since been confirmed by Galmudug State officials.[6]
  • Al Shabaab militants ambushed an Ethiopian AMISOM convoy that left the recently captured town of Wabho and was traveling through the El-Gorof area of the Galgudud region. Casualties are likely, although specific figures are unavailable at the present time. The attack occurred on October 21.[7]
[1] TRACterrorism, Twitter, October 19, 2015. Available:
[2] “Asiri: Military operations in Yemen are continuing, and stopping them is premature,” Al Masdar, October 21. [Arabic] Available:
[3]  “Large number of victims in rocket attacks by al Houthi and Saleh militias on Taiz neighborhoods,” al-Tagheer, October 21, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
“Yemen: Houthis Shell Civilians in Southern City,” Human Rights Watch, October 20, 2015. Available:
[4] “The coalition launches ten strikes on the last al Houthi strongholds in Ma’rib,” Al Masdar, October 21, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
[5] “Two Al-Shabaab officials nabbed in Qoryooley town,” Wacaal Media, October 21, 2015. Available:
Reporting Somalia, Twitter, October 20, 2015. Available:
[6] “Gulled welcomes capture of Wabho town,” Wacaal Media, October 21, 2015. Available:
“Somalia: government liberates Wabho location from Alshabaab,” Radio Dalsan, October 20, 2015. Available:
“Breaking News: Somali government forces recapture Wabho locality,” Goobjoog News, October 20, 2015. Available:
[7] “Al shabaab Militants attack AU troops’ convoy in central Somalia,” Garsoor News, October 21, 2105. Available:


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