SANAA, Yemen (AP) — The UN envoy for Yemen on Sunday condemned suspected rebel shelling of a residential neighborhood in the southwestern city of Taiz the previous day that killed at least one child and wounded 10.
Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city and the capital of the province by the same name, has been under blockade since 2016, imposed by the Houthi rebels, who are waging war against the country’s internationally recognized government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition.
The Houthis have rejected two UN proposals to end their blockade. A truce between the warring sides that initially took effect in April and was extended in June has called for the reopening of the roads around Taiz and elsewhere in Yemen.
According to Fathi al-Saqqaf, an eyewitness, a group of children were playing in an open area in Taiz’s neighborhood of Zaid al-Moshki when the attack took place on Saturday. A house was also damaged in the shelling, the eyewitness said.
Moammar al-Iryani, information minister of the internationally recognized government, said one of the wounded children died on Sunday. He blamed the Houthis for the attack, which came amid UN efforts to have the truce extended again in August.
Hans Grundberg, the UN envoy, said he was “especially alarmed” by the attack.
“The killing and injuring of children is particularly reprehensible,” he said. “The people of Taiz have suffered immensely… and they, too, need the truth to deliver for them in all its aspects.”
A spokesperson for the Houthis did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Since April, both sides have traded accusations of violations of the truce but the cease-fire has mostly held, the first nationwide halt in fighting in the past six years of the conflict.
The war in Yemen, the Arab world’s most impoverished nation, erupted in 2014, when the Houthis descended from their northern enclave and took over the capital, Sanaa, forcing the government to flee into exile in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi-led coalition entered the war in early 2015 to try to restore the government to power.
The conflict, which eventually descended into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has killed over 150,000 people, including over 14,500 civilians, and created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, pushing millions of Yemenis to the brink of famine.