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Saudi-led coalition pounds Yemen's Shiite rebels near city of Marib in push toward capital

  • An Emirati gunner aboard a Chinook military helicopter scans the desert over Yemen on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. The Emiratis are part of thousands of Saudi Arabia and UAE forces fighting on the ground in Yemen to reverse the territorial gains by the Iran-backed rebels known as Houthis, who captured Sanaa last year and much of the country's north. (AP Photo/Adam Schreck)

    An Emirati gunner aboard a Chinook military helicopter scans the desert over Yemen on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. The Emiratis are part of thousands of Saudi Arabia and UAE forces fighting on the ground in Yemen to reverse the territorial gains by the Iran-backed rebels known as Houthis, who captured Sanaa last year and much of the country's north. (AP Photo/Adam Schreck)  (The Associated Press)

  • An Emirati pilot directs his Chinook helicopter toward a military base in Saffer, Yemen, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. The Emiratis are part of thousands of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates forces fighting on the ground in Yemen to reverse the territorial gains by the Iran-backed rebels known as Houthis, who captured Sanaa last year and much of the country's north. (AP Photo/Adam Schreck)

    An Emirati pilot directs his Chinook helicopter toward a military base in Saffer, Yemen, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. The Emiratis are part of thousands of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates forces fighting on the ground in Yemen to reverse the territorial gains by the Iran-backed rebels known as Houthis, who captured Sanaa last year and much of the country's north. (AP Photo/Adam Schreck)  (The Associated Press)

  • A rocket launches from a United Arab Emirates military base near Saffer, Yemen, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. The Emiratis are part of thousands of Saudi Arabia and UAE forces fighting on the ground in Yemen to reverse the territorial gains by the Iran-backed rebels known as Houthis, who captured Sanaa last year and much of the country's north. (AP Photo/Adam Schreck)

    A rocket launches from a United Arab Emirates military base near Saffer, Yemen, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. The Emiratis are part of thousands of Saudi Arabia and UAE forces fighting on the ground in Yemen to reverse the territorial gains by the Iran-backed rebels known as Houthis, who captured Sanaa last year and much of the country's north. (AP Photo/Adam Schreck)  (The Associated Press)

A Saudi-led coalition is pounding Yemen's Shiite rebels on the outskirts of the city of Marib in its push to retake the capital, Sanaa.

The dull thud of artillery fire rumbled across the city Thursday but its residents, many armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, appeared unperturbed by the nearby fighting.

Marib is the capital of the largely desert province of the same name. Authorities say the coalition is targeting Houthi positions near the key Marib dam and the town of Sirwah, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) west on the road to Sanaa.

The provincial capital itself is under control of loyalists to exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Deputy governor Abdo Rab Ali says 80 percent of the province is controlled by pro-Hadi forces while the Houthis control 20 percent.