DUBAI (Reuters) - Yemeni forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition launched on Friday a "vast offensive" to take full control of Hodeidah, the internationally recognised government based in the southern city of Aden said in a statement.

"A military operation has begun and the national army forces have advanced towards the north and the western sides of the city of Hodeidah, progressing from all front with the support of the Arab coalition," it said. "Fierce battles are taking place at these moments."

(Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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