The United Arab Emirates air force has stepped up its aerial bombardment of Houthi positions after the Arab coalition suffered its greatest one-day losses in Yemen.
Flags were flown at half-mast in Abu Dhabi on Saturday as the government announced a three-day mourning period for the 45 Emirati soldiers who were killed when a munitions depot in their barracks in the eastern province of Marib was struck by a missile.
Five soldiers from Bahrain were also killed in the attack.
As the bodies of the dead soldiers were repatriated, the UAE air force launched air raids against Houthi concentrations in Marib, the capital Sanaa, and the northern city of Saada in what some officials said was the heaviest such operation since the beginning of the conflict there in March.
The Arab military deployment is part of a Saudi Arabian-led coalition fighting to restore Yemeni President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi to office after he was forced to flee the country to Riyadh in the face of advancing Houthi rebels.
The Saudis say that Hadi is the legitimate leader in Yemen and accuse the Houthis of acting as Iranian proxies.
In late July, Yemen’s prime minister and vice-president, who had fled to Saudi Arabia as Houthi rebels took over the country, returned to the port city of Aden after it was recaptured by government forces.
UAE special forces played a leading role in the liberation of the city.
The ministers’ return marks a dramatic turnaround in the civil war which erupted late last year.
But the Houthis still control the capital Sanaa.
The fight between the Houthis and the government, which was formed in November 2014, has created a security and political vacuum that has been used by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as well as the more militant Islamic State (ISIL), to grow their strength and influence.
The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies