Gulf of Aden Security Review - November 2, 2015

Yemen: UN Special Envoy expects Yemen peace talks by mid-November; ISIS affiliates assassinate intelligence officers in Aden and detonate VBIED in Sana’a; Ansar al Sharia attacks al Houthis in Ibb and al Bayda governorates; UN contractors detained in Yemen; cyclone threatens al Mukalla, Hadramawt

Yemen Security Brief
  • UN-led peace talks between the major combatants in Yemen are expected to begin by mid-November, according to UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. The UN is currently leading separate preliminary talks with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s coalition-backed Yemeni government in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and with the al Houthis and the Yemeni General People’s Congress in Muscat, Oman.[1]
  • Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) Wilayat Aden-Abyan assassinated two Yemeni intelligence officers in Aden on November 1. ISIS militants killed a Yemeni Political Security Organization officer in Hashid, Aden and a Yemeni National Security Bureau officer in Inma city, Aden. ISIS militants also seized a government media building in al Tawahi district, Aden on November 1, according to reports. ISIS Wilayat Sana’a militants also claimed credit for the detonation of a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) near an al Houthi gathering at a security checkpoint in downtown Sana’a. No casualties have been reported.[2]
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)-affiliated Ansar al Sharia militants detonated a VBIED targeting an al Houthi gathering near the al Waha hotel in Ibb city, central Yemen on November 1. Ansar al Sharia also claimed credit for a November 1 grenade attack on an al Houthi vehicle in Ibb city. The attacks killed and wounded an unspecified number of people.  Ansar al Sharia also claimed credit for five attacks on al Houthi patrols in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen. No casualties have been reported.[3]
  • The UN announced that two UN contractors were detained in Yemen, but did not release additional details. A U.S. State Department official acknowledged but did not confirm reports that two U.S. citizens were detained at Sana’a airport.[4]
  • A hurricane-strength cyclone hit the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea on November 2, killing three people and injuring approximately 100. The gradually-weakening storm will likely make landfall near al Mukalla, Hadramawt on November 3. Yemen lacks the infrastructure to manage severe winds and flooding. AQAP, which currently administers al Mukalla through a proxy group, may not be well-positioned to respond to the storm.[5]

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