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Emiratis fighting with Saudis in Yemen take heavy loss

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- The state news agency of the United Arab Emirates says the number of its troops killed in Yemen has risen to 45.

It appeared to be the deadliest day ever for the Emirati military since the founding of the UAE federation in 1971.

In a one-line statement, WAM news agency said 23 troops died of their wounds, after reporting earlier Friday that 22 had been killed while taking part in Saudi-led operations in Yemen against Shiite rebels known as Houthis.

Pro-government Yemeni security officials said the troops were killed Friday when a Houthi missile hit a weapons storage depot near their position in the province of Marib, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of the capital Sanaa.

Rare view of destruction inside Yemen's civil war

Fighting in Yemen pits the Houthis and army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against forces loyal President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who is in self-imposed exile in Saudi, as well as southern separatists and local militias.

The Saudi-led and U.S.-backed coalition has been launching airstrikes against the rebels since March, in an operation that aims to roll back gains by the Shiite rebels and their allies. Houthis have captured more territory around Yemen after taking control of the capital, Sanaa, last September.

Clashes between Houthis and pro-government forces, as well as airstrikes from the Saudi-led coalition, intensified this week in Marib as the opposing sides gear up for a critical battle over the coming days.

Pro-government forces want to clear Marib province of Houthi fighters, then proceed on to Jawf province, then to Saada, the Houthis' stronghold in the north, the security officials said.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to brief reporters.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to brief reporters.


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