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: AQAP threatens UAE and Israeli nationals over normalized relations; Saudi-led coalition intercepts al Houthi drone targeting airport in Saudi Arabia; Hadi government–aligned forces attempt to advance toward al Jawf governorate’s capital; al Houthis announce suspending UN and humanitarian flights to Sana’a airport
Horn of Africa: AFRICOM confirms death of al Shabaab commander from August airstrike; al Shabaab conducts SVBIED attack targeting US-Somali convoy in Lower Jubba region; ISCA claims inflicting 20 Tanzanian force casualties in northern Mozambique; al Shabaab attacks police station in Middle Shabelle region
Yemen Security Brief:
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a statement threatening UAE and Israeli nationals following rumored local reports of a joint UAE-Israeli “spy” base in southern Yemen’s Socotra archipelago. A senior AQAP official condemned the recent normalization of UAE-Israeli relations in late August.
Saudi-led coalition forces intercepted al Houthi drones targeting Abha airport in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern Asir region on September 9. The al Houthi movement has launched drone and missile attacks targeting the airport daily since September 6.
Forces aligned with the internationally recognized Yemeni government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi claimed launching an attack on al Houthi militants in northern Yemen’s al Jawf governorate on September 9 in an effort to advance toward al Hazm city, the capital of al Jawf governorate. Al Houthi militants seized al Hazm city in March.
The al Houthi movement announced on September 7 that it would suspend UN and humanitarian flights to Sana’a airport in the Yemeni capital on September 9. The al Houthi movement cited fuel shortages caused by the Saudi-led coalition’s blockade on Yemen as a reason for this suspension. The first UN medical flight since 2017 left Sana’a airport in February.
Horn of Africa Security Brief:
US Africa Command (AFRICOM) confirmed the death of senior al Shabaab commander Abdul Qadir Commandos that an AFRICOM airstrike killed near Saakow town in southern Somalia’s Middle Jubba region on August 25. AFRICOM previously conducted an airstrike targeting an al Shabaab militant known for his bomb-making expertise in southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region on August 20.
Al Shabaab conducted a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack targeting a military outpost in Janaa Cabdalle area, roughly 30 miles west of Kismayo city in Lower Jubba region on September 7. The explosion killed three Somali soldiers, wounded two others, and one US soldier. An AFRICOM official said that at least one al Shabaab militant died during the attack. Al Shabaab claimed the attack, saying it would concentrate on targeting “American crusaders.” Somali National Army (SNA) forces recaptured Janaa Cabdalle in Lower Jubba region from al Shabaab militants on September 5.
The Islamic State’s Central Africa Province (ISCA) claimed repelling a joint Mozambican-Tanzanian armed force attack on Mocimboa da Praia city in northern Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province on September 5. ISCA claimed inflicting 20 Tanzanian force casualties. Islamic State–aligned militants captured Mocimboa da Praia in mid-August.
Al Shabaab militants attacked a police station in Balad town in central Somalia’s Middle Shabelle region on September 8. A Somali government spokesperson claimed the attack killed one Somali police officer and wounded seven civilians. Somali security forces claimed killing 14 al Shabaab militants in the attack. Somali police thwarted an al Shabaab attack in Balad town in mid-June.
 “AQAP Threatens Emiratis, Israelis Following Reports of Joint Spy Bases on Socotra Island,” SITE Intelligence Group, September 6, 2020, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com; and Rahma Bayrakdar and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – September 2, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-september-2-2020.
 “Houthis announce attacking military targets at Abha airport in southern Saudi Arabia,” Al Jazeera, September 9, 2020, https://www.aljazeera.net/news/2020/9/9/%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%ad%d9%88%d8%ab%d9%8a%d9%88%d9%86-%d9%8a%d8%b9%d9%84%d9%86%d9%88%d9%86-%d9%85%d9%87%d8%a7%d8%ac%d9%85%d8%a9-%d8%a3%d9%87%d8%af%d8%a7%d9%81-%d8%b9%d8%b3%d9%83%d8%b1%d9%8a%d8%a9; “’Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen’ intercepts and destroys drone launched by Iranian-backed Houthi militia toward kingdom,” Saudi Press Agency, September 9, 2020, http://www.spa.gov.sa/details.php?id=2131606; “Yemen’s Houthis launch drone strikes against Saudi’s Abha airport,” Middle East Monitor, September 8, 2020, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200908-yemens-houthis-launch-drone-strikes-against-saudis-abha-airport/; “’Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen’ intercepts and destroys drone launched by Iranian-backed Houthi militia toward kingdom,” Saudi Press Agency, September 7, 2020, http://www.spa.gov.sa/details.php?id=2130672; and “’Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen’ intercepts and destroys drone launched by Iranian-backed Houthi militia toward kingdom,” Saudi Press Agency, September 6, 2020, http://www.spa.gov.sa/details.php?id=2130638.
 “The National Army knocks on the gates of al Hazm city after liberating al Nudd and Shahla,” Al Mashhad al Yemeni, September 9, 2020, https://www.almashhad-alyemeni.com/178184; and Kalissa Azooz and Muhammad Ramadhito, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – May 22, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, May 22, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-may-22-2020.
 “Yemen’s Houthis close Sanaa airport to UN flights,” Middle East Monitor, September 9, 2020, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200909-yemens-houthis-close-sanaa-airport-to-un-flights/; and Jessica Kocan, “Yemen File: COVID-19 strain expedites Saudi Arabia’s exit from Yemen war,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, April 29, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/yemen-file/yemen-file-covid-19-strain-expedites-saudi-arabias-exit-from-yemen-war.
 AFRICOM identifies al-Shabaab terrorist target in August strike,” US Africa Command, September 8, 2020, https://www.africom.mil/pressrelease/33145/africom-identifies-al-shabaab-terrorist-targe; “AFRICOM confirms killing of Shabaab commander Abdulqadir Commandos in airstrike,” Goobjoog, September 9, 2020, http://goobjoog.com/english/africom-confirms-killing-of-shabaab-commander-abdulqadir-commandos-in-airstrike/; and Matthew Eady and Jessica Kocan, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 21, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 21, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-august-21-2020.
 “After Series of 6 Bomb Blasts, Shabaab Executes Suicide Bombing on Joint U.S.-Somali Convoy Outside Kismayo,” SITE Intelligence Group, September 7, 2020, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com; “AFRICOM Statements on Sept. 7 event in Somalia,” US Africa Command, September 8, 2020, https://www.africom.mil/pressrelease/33142/africom-statement-on-sept-7-event-in-somalia; Abdi Latif Dahir, “Truck Bomb in Somalia Kills 3 and Wounds 3, Including a U.S. Soldier,” New York Times, September 7, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/07/world/africa/somalia-attack-us-soldier.html; and “SNA troops recapture key strategic town in Jubaland,” Garowe, September 6, 2020, https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/sna-troops-recapture-key-strategic-town-in-jubaland.
 “ISCAP Claims Thwarting Enemy Offensive On Mocimboa da Praia, Inflicting 20 Casualties in Tanzanian Army Ranks,” SITE Intelligence Group, September 5, 2020, available by subscription at www.siteintelgroup.com; and Matthew Eady and Samuel Bloebaum, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – August 12, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, August 12, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-august-12-2020.
 “Abdirisak M Tuuryare, “Deadly attack on police station kills 15 people in Somalia,” Mareeg, September 8, 2020, https://mareeg.com/deadly-attack-on-police-station-kills-15-people-in-somalia/; “Al-shabaab attack kills 15 in Bal’ad town,” Hiiraan, September 8, 2020, https://www.hiiraan.com/news4/2020/Sept/179860/al_shabaab_attack_kills_15_in_bal_ad_town.aspx; and Zachary Jaynes and Matthew Eady, “Gulf of Aden Security Review – June 15, 2020,” Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, June 15, 2020, https://www.criticalthreats.org/briefs/gulf-of-aden-security-review/gulf-of-aden-security-review-june-15-2020.