A weekend of airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition force against Yemen’s Houthi rebels culminated on Sunday with the bombing of the presidential palace in Aden.
The air support gave militia loyal to fled Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi a chance to make some gains against the Shi’ite rebels who the Saudis say are being backed by Iran.
Tehran has called for the air bombardments to stop – a called rejected by Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister:
“How can Iran call for us to stop the fighting in Yemen? The fight has been ongoing in Yemen for more than a year”, said Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal.
The Gulf states coalition has been bombing Yemen for over two weeks, hoping to slow the advance of Houthi militia towards the southern port city of Aden.
However the conflict has raised fears that a sectarian proxy war between rivals Riyadh and Tehran will further destabilise the Middle East.
The fighting is already causing friction in other Muslim countries. In Pakistan radical Sunni Muslims protested at Friday’s parliamentary vote not to join the military intervention. The decision dashed Riyadh’s hopes for support from outside the region.