Yemeni security officials and witnesses say fighting between Shiite rebel forces and others loyal to Yemen's internationally recognized government in the southwestern city of Taiz has killed at least 48 people on both sides.

They said Friday that fighting intensified earlier this week when forces loyal to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi attempted regain full control over the city and expel rebel forces surrounding it.

They also said that Saudi-led coalition forces backing Hadi carried out several airstrikes on Houthi-controlled bases. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, while the witnesses did so for fear of reprisals.

The coalition has been at war with the Iran-backed rebels, known as Houthis, since March 2015 to reinstate Hadi's government.