Al Mukalla

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Al Mukalla
al Mukalla as seen from its port
al Mukalla as seen from its port
Al Mukalla is located in Yemen
Al Mukalla
Al Mukalla
Location in Yemen
Coordinates: 14°32′N 49°08′E / 14.533°N 49.133°E / 14.533; 49.133
Country  Yemen
Governorate Hadramaut
Founded as a fishing settlement in 1035
Population (2004)
 • Total 531,205
Time zone Yemen Standard Time (UTC+3)

Al Mukalla (Arabic: المكلا‎‎ Al Mukallā) is a main sea port and the capital city of the Hadhramaut coastal region in Yemen in the southern part of Arabia on the Gulf of Aden close to the Arabian Sea. It is located 480 km (300 mi) east of Aden and is the most important port in the Governorate of Hadramaut, the largest governorate in Yemen.

Al Mukalla is the fifth largest city in Yemen with a population of approximately 300,000. The city is served by the nearby Riyan Airport.


Al Mukalla is situated not far from "Cane" or "Qana'", the ancient principal Hadrami trading post between India and Africa, with incense producing areas in its hinterland.[1]

Al Mukalla was founded in 1035 as a fishing settlement. This area was included in Oman state until middle of the 11th century, and later this area was included in Yemen states.

It was the capital of the Qu'aiti State of Hadhramaut until 1967 when it became a part of South Yemen. The Qu'aiti State was part of the Eastern Aden Protectorate until that merger. A British Resident Advisor was stationed at Al Mukalla.

In 1934, British traveler and explorer Freya Stark began her journey into the hinterland of the Hadhramaut from Al Mukalla, and her stay in that city is recorded in her book, The Southern Gates of Arabia.[2]

Battle of Al Mukalla[edit]

AQAP hosts a major rally, inside their capital, Al Mukalla in 4 March of 2016.

On April 2, 2015, Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) stormed the central prison, freeing hundreds of prisoners including two senior AQAP commanders. They attacked the central bank and seized 17 billion Yemeni riyals and 1 million U.S. dollars before taking control of the presidential palace in the city. It is reported the entire city is under their control and they plan to establish an Islamic emirate in the wider Hadramaut region.[3]

Under the Al-Qaeda Emirate of Yemen[edit]

The Mukalla became the AQAP headquarter, and the capital of their Al-Qaeda Emirate in Yemen after their takeover. In April 2015 Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi was killed in a drone strike in the city, the SITE Intelligence Group said, citing media reports.[4]

On 3 November 2015, Cyclone Chapala struck the city and destroyed the city's seafront.[5] Casualties are unknown due to the difficulty of getting information from the war zone held by Al-Qaeda.

In late March 2016 Al-Qaeda kidnapped a senior security official in Hadramout province. Local sources said that al-Qaeda operatives arrested Colonel Nasser San'aani Deputy Director of Criminal Investigation in the coastal areas, near his home in the city of Mukalla and took him to an unknown destination. Before that, gunmen kidnapped journalist Abdullah Nasser Alcieli in the city of Mukalla, while the group said that the abduction of General Manager of "stone" in the Directorate of Hadramout Mohamed Omar Ba'alawy, was because hi have charges that he organized Houthi group of cells. In October last year, al Qaeda abducted correspondents channels (Yemen today) and (still) journalists Mohammed Mokri, and Amir Baaweidan, and is still held by today.[6]

In 23 of March, a US airstrike hit an AQAP training camp, killing at least 50 people. Some days later, AQAP halted major rally in the city, against the US and their airstrikes.[7] In April 2016, is reported that AQAP bounds at last 1,000 of its fighters inside the Al Mukalla only, with their taxes profit in the city to be from 2, to higher than 5 millions of American dollars per day.[8]

In the middle of April 2016, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was consolidating its control in al Mukalla and took over control of al Mukalla’s airport from forces affiliated with the pro-Ansar al Sharia Hadhrami Domestic Council, while also evacuating and planting explosives around nearby al Dhaba oil port. AQAP also arrested seven Yemeni fighters from a camp north of al Mukalla in Wadi Hadramawt, where the UAE is reportedly training forces for operations against AQAP. AQAP is also redistributing property from northern landowners to local tribal leaders in an effort to shore up support, according to reports. The UAE, a core member of the Saudi-led coalition, recently led an operation to recapture AQAP-held al Hawta in Lahij governorate, amid reports the country is seeking U.S. assistance for an expanded counter-terrorism campaign in Yemen.[9] The city captured in 25 of April, 2016, after Hadi loyalists along with UAE troops, expelled AQAP from the city.[10]

On 15 May 2016, a suicide attack was carried out in the city by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.[11] The attack targeted a police base, killing at least 25 police recruits and wounding at least 54 others.[12][13]


Mukalla port
Trading bread in the old town

The main market soukh is one of the main commercial hubs of the city.

Mukalla port is located to the east of the town. The port is available for vessels with length not more than 150 meters as per Pilot Book Pilot Directions (up to 2010 year). At the same time two vessels with the length 150 meters each and about 20 small fishing vessels can stay alongside in Mukalla port (fishing vessel moored alongside one to another). The port is fitted with oil pipe line for tankers. Oil tanks located close to the port.

Cement factory of "RAYSUT" cement company (Oman-Yemen company) located in the port and is able to receive cement in bulk from cement carriers.


The old town is open for tourists. Sights include the royal palace of the sultan. Guard towers that were outposts surmount the mountains around the old town.


The College of Medicine HUCOM of the Hadhramout University is located in Al Mukalla.


  1. ^ "Myos Hormos". Maritime Incense Route. Retrieved 7 Dec 2008. 
  2. ^ Stark, Freya, The Southern Gates of Arabia, John Murray, London, 1936 (and reprinted in many modern editions)
  3. ^ "Al-Qaeda frees 300 prisoners in Yemen jail break". 2 April 2015. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  4. ^ Dana Ford, CNN (7 May 2015). "Senior AQAP leader Nasr Ibn Ali al-Ansi killed". CNN. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  5. ^ "Cyclone Chapala batters war-torn Yemen". BBC. 3 November 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Al-Qaeda In Yemen Sends Children To Protest U.S. Drone Strikes". Vocativ. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "حصري- القاعدة يبدأ تجهيز ميدان المعركة: إخلاء مطار المكلا وتفخيخ ميناء "الضبة"". وكالة خبر للأنباء. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  10. ^ "Arab coalition enters AQAP stronghold in port city of Mukalla, Yemen". The Long War Journal. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  11. ^ "Yemen conflict: IS suicide attack kills 25 police recruits". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-05-15. 
  12. ^ "Deadly bombing targets police in Yemen's Mukalla". Retrieved 2016-05-15. 
  13. ^ "Islamic State Yemen suicide bomber kills 25 police recruits: medics". Reuters. 2016-05-15. Retrieved 2016-05-15. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Al Mukalla at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 14°32′N 49°08′E / 14.533°N 49.133°E / 14.533; 49.133