SANA, Yemen — The Saudi-led coalition fighting Shi’ite rebels in Yemen doubled its near-daily airstrikes Monday in the central province of Marib and the adjacent border area of Jawf, in order to allow allies on the ground to push north toward insurgent strongholds, authorities said.
Marib’s progovernment forces also received major reinforcements, including hundreds of Saudi-trained troops, ambulances, and armored personnel carriers manned by Saudi and Emirati soldiers, progovernment officials said.
The forces aim to take Saada, the main northern stronghold of the Houthi rebels, they added.
Yemen’s conflict pits the Iran-allied Houthis and troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh against an array of forces including southern separatists, local and tribal militias, Sunni Islamic militants, and troops loyal to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Progovernment forces recently pushed the Houthis out of several key southern areas.
Meanwhile, in Yemen’s third-largest city, Taiz, shelling by Houthi and pro-Saleh forces killed 14 civilians, independent security and medical officials and witnesses said.
In Aden, Al Qaeda militants and other Islamic extremists continue to patrol the streets. Hundreds of Al Qaeda militants hold some key areas in the port city, exploiting a vacuum left by progovernment forces pushing north, pro-Hadi officials said.
The Saudi military also said a high-ranking general was killed along the kingdom’s border with Yemen in the kingdom’s southern region of Jizan.