SANAA, Yemen – Saudi-led airstrikes killed 12 Shiite rebels in Yemen's Marib province Tuesday, the area where a rebel missile strike days earlier killed 45 Emirati soldiers and 10 Saudi troops, independent Yemeni security officials and witnesses said Tuesday.
Shiite Houthi rebels said more than 20 coalition airstrikes hit the province.
Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of mainly Gulf nations fighting the Houthis. The coalition suffered its worst day of losses Friday in the missile strike in Marib.
On Friday, Bahrain's state news agency also reported five of its soldiers were killed protecting Saudi's southern border, without elaborating. Yemen is the only hostile country on Saudi's southern border.
Pro-government officials said the high death toll from Friday's rebel attack has prompted coalition and pro-government forces to rethink their strategy and focus on first taking the cities of Bihan to the south and Sirwah to the west of the city of Marib, the province capital. Sirwah lies on a supply route to the rebel-held capital, Sanaa. The officials said forces are prioritizing taking those cities because they are deemed less risky than proceeding directly to Jawf province, which connects Marib to Saada province — the Houthi heartland.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to brief reporters.
Yemen is torn between the Houthis, allied with army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and military forces loyal to exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. The Houthis took Sanaa in September, later expanding across Yemen. The conflict has killed over 2,100 civilians, according to the United Nations.
This story has been corrected to show that Bihan is to the south and Sirwah is to the west of the city of Marib.