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Saudi-led coalition closing in on Yemen's Hodeidah port city

RIYADH/ADEN - Forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition are closing in on Yemen's Houthi-held port city Hodeidah, a coalition spokesman said, but did not specify whether there were plans for an assault to seize the western port, long a key target in the war.

"Hodeidah is 20 km (12.43 miles) away and operations are continuing," spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said at a press briefing in the Saudi capital Riyadh late on Monday, detailing gains made against the Iran-aligned Houthi movement.

The Western-backed military alliance last year announced plans to move on Hodeidah, but backed off amid international pressure, with the United Nations warning that any attack on the country's largest port would have a "catastrophic" impact.

The renewed push towards Hodeidah comes amid increased tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which are locked in a three-year-old proxy war in Yemen that has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced three million and pushed the impoverished country to the verge of starvation.

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