Houthi forces in Yemen (file)
Houthi forces in Yemen (file)Reuters

Officials in the Yemeni government of exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi have claimed a small contingent of Saudi ground troops landed in the port city of Aden Sunday, as Riyadh continues to lead an Arab coalition against Iranian-backed Shia Houthi rebels in the country.

"A limited coalition force entered Aden and another force is on its way," one anonymous official told AFP.

Another official - a member of the pro-Hadi Popular Committees militia - also told the news agency that the soldiers "will start helping us in fighting" the Houthis.

But Saudi officials have denied any ground troops were sent to the embattled country. 

"There are no foreign forces in Aden but coalition continues to help fight against the Houthi militia," Brigadier General Ahmed al-Asiri said in a statement.

It comes as the Saudi-led coalition continues to back pro-government forces against the Houthis, who have themselves been receiving outside support in the shape of Iranian aid.

According to some reports in the Arab media, fighters from Iranian proxy group Hezbollah have also been taking a direct part in the fighting alongside Houthi rebels.

But if confirmed, the landing of Saudi or other Sunni Arab ground forces would mark the most significant escalation in the conflict since Saudi airstrikes began on March 26.