SAN’A, Yemen—A Saudi-led military coalition escalated airstrikes targeting Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen over the weekend, as its ground troops prepare for an anticipated offensive toward the capital, San’a.
Eight strikes hit a school Sunday in San’a that is connected to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, local security officials said. Other strikes Sunday caused dozens of casualties in the southern city of Ibb and in the northern Sa’ada province, officials in those places said.
The weekend’s strikes included one that hit San’a’s Old City, a UNESCO-designated heritage site. At least 31 people were killed and 120 wounded in that attack and others in San’a late Friday night, according to Tamim al-Shami, a spokesman for the Houthi-controlled health ministry.
The Saudi coalition, which consists mainly of Sunni Muslim-majority Persian Gulf states, has been trying since March to oust the Houthis, a rebel militant group that is part of the Zaidi offshoot of Shiite Islam.
Saudi Arabia and its backers, which include the U.S., see the Houthis as an illegitimate movement supported by Shiite Iran. They want to restore power to Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the exiled Yemeni president, in what has increasingly come to be seen as a proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran.