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DUBAI: Five Saudi soldiers were killed near the border with Yemen, the Saudi Press Agency said late on Sunday, while a Saudi-led military coalition began an offensive to drive Houthi militia forces out of Yemen’s energy-rich province of Marib.

The statement said the five Saudis were killed in southern Najran province.

Meanwhile, one Emirati serviceman was killed in the ground offensive in Marib, the United Arab Emirates state news agency WAM said late on Sunday.

Also on Sunday, Yemen’s exiled government pulled out of UN-mediated peace talks with the Houthis, casting doubt on the future of the talks that were meant to end the nearly six-month old war.

The Saudi coalition began air strikes against the Houthis and their allies, forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, in late March after they pushed from their northern stronghold towards the southern port of Aden.

The coalition, which says the Houthis are allied with Iran, has stepped up air strikes in the capital, Sanaa, and other Houthi-held areas since a Houthi missile killed more than 60 Gulf Arab troops stationed in Marib on Sept. 4.

The Houthis seized Sanaa last September and eventually forced President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his administration to flee to Saudi Arabia. by Reuters 



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