Old Sanaa city
People walk on a bridge in the Old Sana'a city JanuaryReuters

Saudi-led coalition air strikes in Yemen have reduced historic houses to rubble in the Old City of Sana'a, a Unesco world heritage site, according to local reports.

Dozens of men from the historic neighbourhood were at work to dig out the homes that collapsed after a missile hit the Old City, looking for survivors. It is unclear how many casualties were caused.

Alex Potter, a photographer on the ground, reported that two bodies – a man and a woman – were pulled from the rubble, along with a critically injured man. Neighbours reported that five people were inside the house at the time of the aerial bombing.

Yemen's state news agency Saba reported that at least six people were killed and several others injured in the strikes, which destroyed five houses and damaged several other buildings.

The Old City of Sana'a has been inhabited for more than 2,500 years. Many of the houses resemble ancient skyscrapers, reaching several storeys high and topped with flat roofs. They are decorated with elaborate friezes and intricately carved frames and stained-glass windows.

Reporters posted before and after pictures on Twitter to show the level of devastation after the pounding of these ancient architectural gems:

Saudi-led air strikes killed at least 19 people across Yemen on Tuesday (9 June) in retaliation for the killing of two Saudi soldiers by the Iranian-backed Houthi group. The clashes come amid preparations to bring representatives of the Yemeni government, the Shi'ite Houthi group and former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to talks in Geneva next week.

In the 7th and 8th centuries the Sana'a became a major centre for the propagation of Islam and encompasses 103 mosques, 14 hammams and over 6,000 houses, all built before the 11th century, according to Unesco.