Saudi-led coalition warplanes have mistakenly killed eight Yemeni civilians, including several beekeepers, during air strikes aimed at Iran-backed rebels, a local official said Thursday.
The pro-government coalition has intensified raids against rebel forces since a deadly missile attack on Friday killed 60 Gulf troops in Marib province east of the capital Sanaa.
As warplanes late on Wednesday pounded rebel positions in Bayhan, on the border between Shabwa and Marib provinces, they hit a honey farm and “six beekeepers and two other civilians were killed by mistake,” a local government official in Bayhan said.
The area is believed to have been the launching ground for the Tochka missile that killed the Gulf soldiers — 45 Emiratis, 10 Saudis and five Bahrainis.
The coalition launched an air campaign in March in support of forces loyal to exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, after the insurgents advanced on south Yemen after they had seized the capital in September.
After recapturing the southern port city of Aden in July, loyalists launched a ground operation which has driven back the rebels from five southern provinces, although the Huthis still control Sanaa and much of northern and central Yemen.
Overnight, coalition Apache helicopters struck rebel positions in Jufaineh, southwest of the provincial capital Marib, witnesses said.
Air strikes against rebel positions were also heard around the capital.
Gulf Arab members of the coalition have reportedly sent thousands of heavily armed reinforcements to Yemen, mainly to Marib, in preparation for an anticipated offensive to retake Sanaa.
The exiled government has announced that 10,000 Yemeni fighters are now ready to serve in a “national army being prepared to liberate Sanaa and other provinces”.