Saudi commanders insist incursion into northern Yemen is temporary, as troops take up positions overlooking Jizan.
At least 22 people, majority of them Indian nationals, are reported to have been killed in air strike conducted by Saudi-led Arab coalition in eastern Yemen’s al-Hodeidah port.
Tuesday’s attack was targeting fuel and arms smugglers in the area controlled by the Houthi rebels, Al Jazeera has learnt.
According to Houthi activists who posted photos of the aftermath on Twitter, the victims were fishermen in two boats.
— فؤاد الحوثي (@rockarab1) September 8, 2015
India’s foreign ministry confirmed the incidents and said it was in touch with local contacts to gather more information.
“The boats were carrying a total of 20 Indian crew members of which 13 are alive and seven are reported missing. No other information is currently available regarding the identities of the Indian nationals.” Vikas Swarup, spokesman for the foreign ministry, said in a statement.
Al Jazeera has also learnt that more than 20 coalition air strikes targeted Houthi positions on the coastal road linking al-Hodeidah with Taiz city.
Houthi TV also confirmed that five coalition attacks targeted Abu Musa al-Asharis military camp in Hodeidah.
Meanwhile, independent Yemeni security officials and witnesses told the AP news agency that 12 Houthi rebels were killed in the air strikes in the province of Marib, east of the capital Sanaa. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to brief reporters.
Local residents told the DPA news agency that coalition warplanes hit a military base held by pro-Houthi forces in Shabwa province’s Beihan.
The coalition began its military offensive against the Houthis in March after the Shia rebels took control of the impoverished country, forcing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee to neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
After Hadi loyalists recaptured Yemen’s second city Aden in July, the coalition began a ground operation which has seen rebels pushed back from five southern provinces, although they still control Sanaa and much of the north and centre.
However, at least 50 soldiers from the Arab coalition, including 45 from the UAE and five from Bahrain, were killed last week during fighting with rebels.