The increase in the strikes come a day after the son of slain former president Ali Abdullah Saleh vowed revenge for his father's death.

Residents of Sanaa said the southern districts were still paralysed in the wake of the fighting, with the majority of shops shuttered and streets largely deserted. December 6, 2017
Residents of Sanaa said the southern districts were still paralysed in the wake of the fighting, with the majority of shops shuttered and streets largely deserted. December 6, 2017 ( AFP )

A Saudi-led coalition stepped up air strikes on Yemen's Houthis on Wednesday as the rebels tightened their grip on Sanaa a day after the son of slain former president Ali Abdullah Saleh vowed revenge for his father's death.

Former president Saleh plunged the country deeper into turmoil last week by switching allegiances after years helping the Houthis win control of much of the country's north including the capital. He was killed in an attack on his convoy on Monday.

The pro-Houthi Al Masirah television station said on Wednesday Saudi Arabia and its allies had bombed Saleh's residence and other houses of his family members now controlled by the Houthis. Air strikes also hit northern provinces including Taiz, Hajjah, Midi and Saada, it said.

There was no immediate word on casualties.

The intervention by Saleh's son Ahmed Ali, a former commander of the elite Republican Guard who lives in exile in the United Arab Emirates and was once seen as a successor to his father, has provided the anti-Houthi movement with a potential figurehead.

Top UAE leader visits Saleh's son

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahayan, the de facto leader of the UAE, visited Ahmed Ali at his residence to offer his condolences, according to Sheikh Mohammed's Twitter account. He posted a picture of himself sitting with Ahmed Ali.

Ahmed Ali had been widely expected to leave the UAE, a key member of the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis, for Yemen to help in the war amid media reports that some Saleh loyalists have been switching sides.

Many Sanaa residents were staying indoors on Wednesday out of fear of a Houthi crackdown. On Tuesday, Saleh supporters said his nephew Tareq, another top commander, and the head of his party, Aref Zouka, had both been killed.

Yemen's conflict, pitting the Houthis against the Saudi-led military alliance which backs a government based in the south, has unleashed what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The war has killed more than 10,000 people, with more than two million displaced.

Saleh's decision to abandon the Houthis was the most dramatic development in three years of stalemate. Top Houthi officials called it high treason backed by their Saudi enemies.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies