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Yemen: UN says dozens of children killed or maimed in two months

More than 10,000 children have been killed or wounded since the Yemen civil war erupted, with the number feared to be higher
Children walk in front of tents at a camp for displaced Yemenis in the village of Hays, near the western province of Hodeida, on 5 February 2022
Children walk in front of tents at a camp for displaced Yemenis in the village of Hays, near the western province of Hodeidah, on 5 February 2022 (AFP)

Dozens of children have been killed or maimed in Yemen's civil war in January and February, the United Nations said on Saturday. 

The children were wounded or died in several parts of the country as the civil war rages across Yemen between Iran-aligned Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government backed by a Saudi-led military coalition. 

Philippe Duamelle, the Unicef representative in Yemen, said children were always the "first and most to suffer," with the actual number estimated to be higher than known cases.  

The Yemeni civil war has claimed the lives of at least 10,000 children since the civil war erupted in 2015. 

"Just over the first two months of this year, 47 children were reportedly killed or maimed in several locations across Yemen," Duamelle said in a statement on Saturday. 

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"Since the conflict escalated in Yemen nearly seven years ago, the UN verified that more than 10,200 children have been killed or injured. The actual number is likely much higher."

Last November, the UN Development Programme said 377,000 lives would have been lost through fighting, hunger, unclean water and disease by the end of 2021.

The UN report comes as Yemen's war continues to escalate. On Friday, the Houthi movement claimed responsibility for a drone attack on an oil refinery in Riyadh. 

The attack, which took place early on Thursday, caused a small fire, Saudi officials said.

Saudi state media said the attack, which came after crude prices have soared following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, did not affect petroleum supplies and did not result in any injuries or casualties.

The incident follows a series of similar attacks on Saudi facilities by the Houthis. 

In a statement on Friday, Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud, Saudi Arabia's energy minister, avoided directly blaming the attack on the Houthis, who have been fighting against a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen since 2015.

"The Riyadh oil refinery was attacked by a drone, resulting in a small fire that has been brought under control," he said, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

Houthi spokesperson Yahya Sarea said the Saudi Aramco refinery was hit with three drones, adding that the movement also targeted other Aramco facilities in the Saudi cities of Jizan and Abha.

Sarea said the attacks were carried out in response to the coalition blocking the entry of fuel into Houthi territory, where fuel shortages are worsening.

Riyadh has blamed Tehran for helping orchestrate attacks, but Iran rejects the claims. 

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