Followers of the Houthi movement shout slogans during a gathering to show support to the movement outside the Presidential Palace in Sanaa.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
According to senior Saudi officials, Yemen's Houthi rebels have began using suicide operations against its forces stationed on the border with the war-torn Gulf country.
Al Arabiya reported on Monday that Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri, a spokesman for the Saudi military, said that coalition forces have begun a new phase in their efforts against the Shi'ite militants that will involve airstrikes against Yemeni tribes harboring and abetting the Iran backed militia's leadership and fighters.
Asiri claimed that Saudi-led coalition aircraft have already carried out 129 reconnaissance flights, meant to identify suspicious locations, on Sunday.
The Saudis, who view the ongoing fighting in Yemen as an Iranian attempt to set up a powerful proxy in their backyard, have been conducting fierce air raids against the Houthis since late March.
Along with the backing of at least ten other Arab countries, including Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Egypt, the Saudis seek to reverse the Houthi's expanding control over the country, which effectively began in January when the rebels took control of the capital and the government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi resigned.
Asiri also warned of the humanitarian toll of the conflict, explaining that Saudi humanitarian missions are underway. The conflict has had detrimental affects on the local population. Saudi airstrikes have struck rebels as well as innocent civilians, while the rebels themselves have blocked aid organizations from reaching those injured by the fighting.
On Monday the Houthis prevented an aid plane from taking off from the Sana'a airport.
According to a World Health Organization, over 540 people have died as a result of the conflict, at least 74 of which were children. The UN estimates the number of displaced people at 100,000.