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Pakistan's defense minister says Saudi-led coalition targeting Yemen wants ground troops

  • Yemenis stand amid the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi-led airstrikes in a village near Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, April 4, 2015. Since their advance began last year, the Shiite rebels, known as Houthis have overrun Yemen's capital, Sanaa, and several provinces, forcing the country’s beleaguered President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee the country. A Saudi-led coalition continued to carry out intensive airstrikes overnight and early Saturday morning targeting Houthi positions. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

    Yemenis stand amid the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi-led airstrikes in a village near Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, April 4, 2015. Since their advance began last year, the Shiite rebels, known as Houthis have overrun Yemen's capital, Sanaa, and several provinces, forcing the country’s beleaguered President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee the country. A Saudi-led coalition continued to carry out intensive airstrikes overnight and early Saturday morning targeting Houthi positions. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

  • Members of Pakistan's civil society chant slogans against the Saudi-led coalition targeting Shiite rebels in Yemen, during a demonstration, in Lahore, Pakistan, Monday, April 6, 2015. A Saudi-led coalition targeting Shiite rebels in Yemen has asked Pakistan to contribute soldiers, Pakistan's defense minister said Monday, raising the possibility of a ground offensive in the country. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

    Members of Pakistan's civil society chant slogans against the Saudi-led coalition targeting Shiite rebels in Yemen, during a demonstration, in Lahore, Pakistan, Monday, April 6, 2015. A Saudi-led coalition targeting Shiite rebels in Yemen has asked Pakistan to contribute soldiers, Pakistan's defense minister said Monday, raising the possibility of a ground offensive in the country. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)  (The Associated Press)

  • Members of Pakistan's civil society chant slogans against the Saudi-led coalition targeting Shiite rebels in Yemen, during a demonstration, in Lahore, Pakistan, Monday, April 6, 2015. A Saudi-led coalition targeting Shiite rebels in Yemen has asked Pakistan to contribute soldiers, Pakistan's defense minister said Monday, raising the possibility of a ground offensive in the country. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

    Members of Pakistan's civil society chant slogans against the Saudi-led coalition targeting Shiite rebels in Yemen, during a demonstration, in Lahore, Pakistan, Monday, April 6, 2015. A Saudi-led coalition targeting Shiite rebels in Yemen has asked Pakistan to contribute soldiers, Pakistan's defense minister said Monday, raising the possibility of a ground offensive in the country. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)  (The Associated Press)

Pakistan's defense minister says a Saudi-led coalition targeting Shiite rebels in Yemen wants it to contribute ground troops.

The comments Monday by Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif come as Pakistan's parliament debates whether to contribute militarily to the campaign against the rebels, known as Houthis. Pakistan has offered its verbal support for the mission.

Days of airstrikes have yet to dislodge the Houthis from territory they hold across Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country. That's led to speculation that there could be a ground operation launched in Yemen.

Asif says Saudi Arabia also asked for aircraft and naval ships for the campaign.

The Saudi-led campaign entered its 12th day Monday, targeting rebels who took over the capital, Sanaa, in September and eventually forced President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee.