Yemeni military officials say the Gulf nation of Qatar has deployed a thousand ground troops to Yemen to battle Shiite rebels.

Monday's development, which was also reported by the Qatar-based and funded Al-Jazeera news network, marks the first time Qatari ground troops are known to have been deployed to battle the rebels, known as Houthis.

The tiny, wealthy Gulf state is part of the Saudi-led coalition backing exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, whose forces are fighting the rebels and allied units from the splintered military.

The officials said the troops arrived in Marib, the site of a recent rebel missile strike that killed 60 coalition troops.

The military officials, who are allied with Hadi, requested anonymity because they are not authorized to brief reporters.