Pro-Saudi demonstrations in Yemen
Anti-Houthi protesters hold posters of Saudi King Salman to show their support for Saudi-led airstrikes in YemenReuters

A military alliance led by Saudi Arabia has destroyed Yemen's fleet of fighter aircraft and military command centres, as the sectarian fight for the country intensifies.

An alliance of more than 10 countries including Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan, led by Saudi Arabia, began the bombardment on Yemen on Thursday (26 March), following Houthi Shi'ite rebels, who ousted President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in September, seizing power.

In a statement published by the Saudi Press Agency, Brigadier General Ahmed bin Hasan Asiri said that rebels "are no longer possessing" fighter jets.

A summit of Arab leaders who met in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh over the weekend have declared that airstrikes will continue until Shi'ite rebels "withdraw and surrender their weapons".

The strikes have also targeted Scud missiles in Yemen, a move which has left many of the country's launching pads "devastated".

Arabian coalition formed

"Yemen was on the brink of the abyss, requiring effective Arab and international moves after all means of reaching a peaceful resolution have been exhausted to end the Houthi coup and restore legitimacy," Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby said in a speech to the gathering.

In his address to the congregation, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said leaders had agreed to the creation of a joint Arab military force, consisting of 40,000 troops from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Qatar and Egypt.

The troops would be based in either Cairo or the Saudi capital, Riyadh and would be provided with tanks, jets and warships.

Hadi has accused Tehran trying to exert control over Yemen by backing the Shi'ite rebels, and voiced his support for foreign intervention in the Arab world's poorest nation.

"I call for this operation to continue until this gang surrenders and withdraws from all locations it has occupied in every province," he said. "I say to Iran's puppet and whoever is with him, you are the one who destroyed Yemen with your political immaturity," he said.