A Yemeni soldier walks on a mountain on the frontline of fighting with Houthis in Nihem area near Sanaa, Yemen January 27, 2018. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser
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Yemeni government forces are closing in on the rebel-held port of Hudaida, the war-ravaged country's main conduit for humanitarian aid, the Arab-led coalition said, prompting the defiant militants to call for a "mass mobilization" to thwart any offensive. The Red Sea port has been a key point of contention since the coalition intervened on behalf of the government in 2015 against Iran-allied Houthi rebels. Rebel chief Abdul Malik al-Houthi Sunday said in a televised address that the Houthis were ready to thwart any military operation by the coalition on Hudaida.In November 2017, the Arab-led coalition announced a total blockade on Hudaida in response to a rebel ballistic missile attack that targeted Riyadh.These forces include the "Giant Brigades" – a former elite unit of the Yemeni army that was rebuilt by the UAE – which has been at the vanguard of the west coast offensive, reinforced by thousands of fighters from southern Yemen.
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