- Briton Arthur Kinston and Australia Phillip Streetman are reported dead
- The men were killed in heavy fighting in the southern city of Taiz
- Iranian media claims the mercenaries were being paid by Saudi Arabia
- The Foreign Office is trying to determine exactly what has happened
A retired British army officer and an Australian were among a group of foreign mercenaries killed by Iranian-backed rebels during heavy fighting in Yemen.
The men have been named by local media as Colonel Arthur Kingston and Australian Phillip Streetman. They are believed to have died in Taiz.
It was claimed that the two men were killed alongside six Colombian mercenaries who were being paid by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Al-Madser news claimed that in total 15 foreign mercenaries have been killed in Yemen in the past 24 hours.
As well as Kingston and Streetman, they claim a Mexican, Masyas Bakenbah, and an unnamed Frenchman have also been killed.
In total ten Colombians have also died in skirmishes.
MailOnline has been unable to independently verify the names of the dead.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is investigating claims of a British casualty. Although there is no British Embassy in Yemen making verification incredibly difficult.
The Foreign Office advises against all travel to Yemen because of the unstable security situation.
Despite the losses in Taiz, mercenary forces have cleared the Red Sea island of Jazirat al-Hanish al-Kabir island of Iranian-backed Shiite rebels.
The island is near the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait that connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden. The strait is a major route for oil from the Gulf and cargo between Europe and Asia.
The Saudi state television report did not elaborate, nor did it show any images of the island.
Yemen’s conflict pits Shiite rebels known as Houthis and army units loyal to a former president against the internationally recognised government and the Saudi-led and US-backed coalition.
Peace talks in Switzerland are scheduled for next week.
The Iranian-backed Fars news agency claimed that the UAE has pulled out its own troops and replaced them with 450 mercenaries from Latin America.
A FCO spokeswoman said: ‘The UK has advised for some time against all travel to Yemen. As we do not have any representation in Yemen, it is extremely difficult to get any confirmation of deaths or injuries and our options for supporting British nationals there are extremely limited, but we are working to establish the accuracy of these reports.’