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The Yemeni commander of a vast military district covering half the country's border with Saudi Arabia pledged support Sunday to exiled President Abed Rabboo Mansour Hadi, local officials said.The announcement puts at least 15,000 troops in the desert and mountain border area on the same side as Saudi Arabia, which backs Hadi and has waged an inconclusive three-week bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen who are allied with Iran. Most of Yemen's military is loyal to powerful ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose forces are fighting alongside the Shiite Muslim Houthi militia in battles stretching across Yemen's south and east.But the defection of the northeastern troops brings to about 10 the number of divisions that back Hadi. Clashes between rebels and pro-government forces and Saudi-led airstrikes killed at least 85 people in Yemen, medics and military sources said Sunday, after Riyadh pledged to fund a U.N. aid appeal.
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