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Pro-Government Forces Prepare for Assault on Vital Yemeni Port

FILE - A cargo ship unloads a shipment of fuel at the Hodeida port, Yemen, May 27, 2018.

A Yemeni commander says pro-government forces are planning an all-out assault on the Red Sea port of Hodeida, a lifeline for aid to the war-ravaged country.

Ahmed al-Kawkabani, who leads a force known as Tohama Brigade, said Wednesday the troops are 13 kilometers (eight miles) from the rebel-held city, but need time to prepare for a "swift takeover with minimal casualties."

A Saudi-led coalition has been locked in a stalemated war in Yemen with Iran-backed rebels known as Houthis since March 2015. Backed by coalition airstrikes, government forces have made advances along the coast in recent weeks.

The coalition accuses the Houthis of bringing Iranian arms in through Hodeida, accusations denied by the rebels.

The war has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced 3 million.