United Arab Emirates (UAE) F-16 Fighters
United Arab Emirates warplanes struck Houthi targets across Yemen, the state news agency WAM said Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015. Above, this photograph from the official Jordanian news agency Petra shows a squadron of UAE F-16 fighters stationed at a Jordanian base on Feb 8. to support it in strikes against the Islamic State group. Petra via Getty Images

SANAA, Yemen (Reuters) -- Warplanes of the United Arab Emirates struck Houthi targets across Yemen, the state news agency WAM said Saturday, a day after at least 60 soldiers in a Saudi Arabia-led coalition, mostly Emiratis, were killed in an attack in central Yemen. Medical sources at hospitals in the capital Sanaa, which has been under effective control of the Iranian-allied Houthi militia for almost a year, said about 24 civilians were killed in the city as a result of the attacks.

WAM said the UAE air force struck a mine-making plant in the Houthi-dominated Saada province in northern Yemen, as well as military camps and weapon stores in the central Ibb province, causing "heavy damage."

Besides 45 Emiratis and five Bahrainis, 10 Saudi soldiers were also killed in the attack in Marib province Friday, Saudi state-run Al Ekhbariya TV reported Saturday, quoting Brig. Gen. Ahmed al-Asiri, a coalition representative. Asiri told Al Arabiya TV that four Yemeni soldiers were also killed in the attack on the coalition base in Marib.

Friday's death toll was the highest for the coalition since it began its assault on the Houthis in March, and it is one of the worst losses of life in the history of the UAE military. The UAE has played a key role in the Arab coalition fighting the Houthis after they pushed Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi into exile and took over much of the country.

UAE forces assisted fighters loyal to Hadi in driving out Houthis and their allies from the southern port city of Aden, in a key victory for the coalition. In Aden, a government official said the police resumed their duties Saturday with the help of the UAE after their work was suspended for more than five months due to the war.

In Sanaa, residents said the Houthi-controlled Defense Ministry building and the command of the special security forces were among the targets hit in further strikes by Saudi-led forces overnight.

The bodies of the Emirati soldiers killed in the attack on their base in Marib were taken to Abu Dhabi aboard an air force transport plane. Funerals were being held Saturday. The UAE government has announced a three-day mourning period.

Bahraini officials said the five soldiers killed in the attack were also being buried Saturday.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told Al Arabiya that the troops were killed when a surface-to-surface missile struck a weapons storage facility at the Marib base.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have reported several deaths of soldiers in Yemen since March, but the total death toll for the coalition was not clear.

'Horrific Explosions'

More than 4,000 Yemenis have died in the same period.

Abu Dhabi shares Riyadh's view that the Houthis are proxies of Shiite power Iran, accusing it of trying to expand its influence in Arab lands in Yemen, Syria and Iraq. The Houthis, belonging to the Zaydi branch of Shiite Islam, deny acting on behalf of Tehran and say they revolted against corruption.

Hadi loyalists, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, had been massing troops and weapons in Marib in preparation for an assault on the capital, which the Houthis seized in September last year.

"The incident itself does not change the balance that is there," Gargash said in an interview with Al Arabiya TV. "Marib will fall to the coalition," he added.

Residents in Sanaa fear the coalition will step up its raids even further to retaliate for the attack. "I was close to the raid that hit the command of the special security forces. The explosions were horrific. I felt that the ground was shaking beneath me, and people were running away out of fear," said Shawqi, a taxi driver.

(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari; Additional reporting by Ahmed Tolba and Reem Shamseddine; Editing by Sami Aboudi, William Maclean and Raissa Kasolowsky)