Red Cross condemns children's death in recent Yemen shelling

Ahmed Al-Haj - Associated Press

SANAA — The Red Cross on yesterday condemned the killing of children in Yemen by apparent shelling, saying Friday's attack in the city of Taiz was a reminder of the "immense suffering" endured by civilians in the war-ravaged Arab nation.

The International Committee of the Red Cross called for protecting civilians in Yemen's civil war, which pits the Iranian-backed rebels known as Houthis and their allies against an internationally recognized government backed by a Saudi-led coalition.

It said three children were killed and nine wounded in the incident, but Yemeni security officials have said as many as four were killed and 10 wounded. They say the slain children were between four and seven years old.

"We cannot turn a blind eye on the rising number of civilians injured or killed as a result of indiscriminate attacks in Yemen's conflict," the statement quoted Robert Mardini, ICRC's Middle East chief, as saying. "We urge all warring sides to take every precaution to spare civilians."

He added: "What happened on Friday is yet another stark reminder of the immense suffering that civilians across Yemen are enduring in their daily lives."

yesterday's statement by the Geneva-based ICRC came less than a week after an international rights group said the Saudi-led coalition was killing children in what amounts to war crimes. In a report released Tuesday, Human Rights Watch documented the deaths of 26 children killed in five coalition airstrikes since June.

It urged the United Nations to place the coalition on its "list of shame," a blacklist of countries that violate child rights. The group also called for an international investigation into possible war crimes.

The UN's annual report on children and armed conflict showed that 785 children were killed and more than 1,000 others were wounded in Yemen in 2015, with 60 percent of the casualties caused by coalition airstrikes. The children are among more than 10,000 people killed in the war, which has also fomented a deadly cholera epidemic.

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