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At least 115 children killed in Yemen since March 26: Unicef

At least 115 children killed in Yemen since March 26: Unicef

GENEVA: At least 115 children have been killed and 172 maimed in the violence raging in Yemen since Saudi-led air strikes began on March 26, the UN children's agency Unicef said Friday.

“We believe that these are conservative figures,” Unicef spokesman Christophe Boulierac told reporters in Geneva, saying at least 64 of the children killed between March 26 and April 20 were victims of air strikes.

The UN agency said another 26 children had been killed by unexploded ordnance and mines, 19 by gunshots, three by shelling and three by “unverified causes related to the conflict”. 71 of the children died in the north of the country, Unicef said.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said Thursday the overall death toll in Yemen had topped 1,000, and the UN's human rights agency said Friday at least 551 of the people who died were civilians. Meanwhile, Unicef said that since March 26, at least 140 children had been recruited by armed groups.

Also read: UN chief calls for immediate ceasefire in Yemen

“There are hundreds of thousands of children in Yemen who continue to live in the most dangerous circumstances, many waking up scared in the middle of the night to the sounds of bombing and gunfire,” Unicef representative in Yemen Julien Harneis said in a statement.

“The number of child casualties shows clearly how devastating this conflict continues to be for the country's children,” he said.

Saudi Arabia's leading role against the Houthis has turned Yemen into the latest theatre of a regional proxy conflict between the Gulf's leading Sunni Muslim and Shia Muslim powers ? a struggle also playing out in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. The United States and Saudi Arabia have accused Shia Iran of arming the Houthis, a claim Iran denies.

Read: Yemen rebels demand complete end to attacks, seek talks

Houthi rebels on Wednesday demanded a complete end to attacks by a Saudi-led coalition and sought United Nations-sponsored talks, a day after the coalition declared an end to the first phase of its operations.

Yesterday, rival forces fought on in Yemen despite a declared halt to a Saudi-led bombing campaign, showing how tough it may be to find a political solution to a war stirring animosities between rival Gulf powers Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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