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: Arab coalition airstrikes target Sana’a and al Bayda; AQAP militants claim IED attacks in al Bayda and Ibb

Horn of Africa: Al Shabaab claims responsibility for a SVBIED attack on Somalia’s Presidential Palace in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Airstrikes by the Saudi-led Arab coalition targeted an al Houthi security compound in Sana’a and damaged residential areas, killing at least 50 people on September 21 and at least 20 on September 22. The coalition also bombed an al Houthi missile cache outside of Sana’a and an al Houthi-controlled government compound in al Bayda governorate. The escalating Saudi-led air campaign continues to incur significant civilian casualties and turn public opinion against the coalition in northern and central Yemen.[1]
  • Ansar al Sharia, the insurgent arm of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), claimed credit for an improvised explosive device (IED) attack on an al Houthi patrol in al Bayda governorate on September 18, according to pro-AQAP sources on Twitter. The group also claimed an IED attack that reportedly killed an al Houthi leader in Ibb governorate on September 20. Ansar al Sharia has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on al Houthis in al Bayda, Ibb, and al Hudaydah this week.[2]

Horn of Africa Security Brief

  • Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for carrying out a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) attack at the gates of Villa Somalia, the country’s presidential palace in Mogadishu. The attack, which occurred on September 21, killed between six to twelve people, including the bomber, and wounded dozens more with the death toll expected to rise. The group stated that the attack was carried out with the intent of killing government officials of Somalia, as well as those visiting from foreign countries. A Turkish citizen was among those killed in the attack.[3]
[1] “Saudi-led air strike kills 20 in Yemen, medics and local officials say,” Reuters, September 22, 2015. Available:
“Saudi-led coalition strikes kill at least 50 in Yemen,” Reuters, September 21, 2015. Available:
“Coalition destroys secret missile store in Wadi Zahir in Sana’a,” Barakish, September 21, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
“Coalition planes strike government complex and al Houthi gatherings in al Bayda,” Al Masdar, September 21, 2015. [Arabic] Available:
[2] Pro-AQAP Twitter accounts. Sources available upon request.
[3] Mohammed Ibrahim, “Deadly car bombing at Somalia’s Presidential Palace is claimed by Shabaab,” The New York Times, September 21, 2015. Available:
“11 Dead after suicide car bomb attack on Somali state house,” DPA International, September 22, 2015. Available:
Wariye Mujaahid Ah, “Statement: New Presidential Election Muslims in the City,” Radio Andalus, September 21, 2015. [Somali] Available:
View Citations
Arrow down red
Oct '15
Sep '15
Aug '15