FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, file photo, a Yemeni soldier allied to the country’s internationally recognized government unslings his machine gun on the outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen. Yemen’s yearslong war between Shiite rebels and a Saudi-led coalition backing its exiled government has escalated with an assault on the insurgent-held port city of Hodeida. (Jon Gambrell, File/Associated Press)

CAIRO — The Latest on the battle for Hodeida in Yemen (all times local):

6: 15 pm.

The United Arab Emirates says it has started flying and sailing aid to Yemen’s port city of Hodeida, where its troops in a Saudi-led coalition are fighting Shiite rebels.

A statement on the state-run WAM news agency Friday night said 10 UAE ships carrying 13,500 tons of food and aid, as well as three flights of aid, were planned for Hodeida.

WAM said one vessel was due to arrive June 22. The UAE also acknowledged “the port remains open and operational.”

The Saudi-led coalition began its assault Wednesday on Hodeida, the main entry for food into a country already on the brink of famine.

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2:45 p.m.

Yemeni officials say dozens of coalition-backed fighters have been killed mostly by Shiite rebel Houthi land mines and roadside bombs as fighting outside the airport of Hodeida intensifies.

The officials — one media and one medical — told The Associated Press on Friday that Houthis used thousands land mines and roadside bombs covering large areas on the outskirts of the Hodieda airport.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to the press.

“Nearly 95 percent of the causalities are because of land mines and roadside bombs,” the medical official said. He shared pictures land mines and bombs that were disguised as rocks and wheat sacks.

The United States has turned down three requests within the past 24 hours from the UAE to provide more support, including minesweepers. The request was diverted to France, which agreed.

The Conflict Armament Research Center said earlier that the bombs are similar to those used by Iranian-backed Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and by insurgents in Iraq and Bahrain, suggesting an Iranian role in their manufacture.

The officials declined to give death toll. The injured are taken to hospitals in Khoukha, Mocha and Aden, the medical official said.

Maggie Michael in Cairo

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2:15 p.m.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is warning “more and more fighters” are in the Yemeni port city of Hodeida amid a Saudi-led campaign to capture it.

The committee issued a series of tweets Friday describing the situation in Hodeida, which is held by Shiite rebels known as Houthis and their allies.

It described the streets of the city as “nearly empty.” It says those living in Hodeida are stocking up on fuel and food, fearing a possible long siege.

It also says: “Hospitals cannot function properly because there is no electricity, generators are not working, or there is no fuel to run them.”

The Saudi-led coalition began its assault Wednesday on Hodeida, the main entry for food into a country already on the brink of famine.

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11:20 a.m.

Yemeni commanders say pro-government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition have reached a town at the entrance of the port city of Hodeida and are just “meters” from the international airport.

The Saudi-led coalition is trying to retake the port from Shiite rebels known as Houthis.

Ahmed al-Kawkabani, who leads a force known as the Tohama Brigade, tells The Associated Press on Friday that fighting is ongoing at the town of Dawar-al-Hodeida at the outskirts of the city.

A report by the Saudi-owned satellite network Al Arabiya has quoted commander Abu Zarah al-Mahrami as saying government forces are “within meters” of the airport.

Previously, a Saudi military spokesman told the channel that forces were within six kilometers (four miles) of Hodeida’s airport.

The Saudi-led coalition began its assault Wednesday on Hodeida, the main entry for food into a country already on the brink of famine.

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10:45 a.m.

A top Emirati official says a Saudi-led campaign to retake Yemen’s port city of Hodeida “means that the Houthis will no longer be able to impose their will at the barrel of a gun.”

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash made the comments on Twitter on Friday.

Friday marked the third day of an offensive to retake Hodeida. Emirati forces are leading irregular and loyalist forces on the ground while Saudi pilots conduct airstrikes.

Gargash also said: “If they keep Hodeida and its revenues and its strategic location, the war will last a long time and the suffering of the Yemeni people.”

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10:40 a.m.

An international rights group has urged the United Nations Security Council to warn parties to the Yemen war that they will face sanctions if they fail to provide civilians access to desperately needed aid.

The call from Human Rights Watch comes as a Saudi-led coalition tries to retake the port city of Hodeida from Shiite rebels known as Houthis.

HRW’s Sarah Leah Whitson said Friday “the coalition and Houthi forces, now fighting for Hodeida, have atrocious records abiding by the laws of war.”

The rights group called on all parties of the conflict to minimize civilian harm during the fight for Hodeida.

The Saudi-led coalition backing Yemen’s exiled government began its assault Wednesday on Hodeida, the main entry for food into a country already on the brink of famine.

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