At least 10 civilians were killed Monday, including six children, when an artillery shell hit a busy street near a popular market in Taez in southern Yemen, the UN said Tuesday.
The United Nations rights office also said 17 people, including six more children and three women, were injured in the attack on Monday evening in the Bir Basha area of Taez, allegedly carried out by affiliates of the Huthi rebels.
Military and medical sources had previously put the civilian toll from the attack at six dead and eight wounded.
UN rights office spokesman Rupert Colville cited witnesses saying that “the street where the market was located was crowded with people at the time of the attack.”
The witnesses, who spoke with UN rights office staff, had insisted “there had not been any armed confrontations between warring parties in the Bir Basha area prior to this terrible incident,” he said.
Taez, Yemen’s third largest city, is almost completely surrounded by the Iran-backed Shiite rebels and their allies, backers of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
For months, forces loyal to the internationally recognised government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi have been trying to break the rebel grip on Taez.
Colville said the artillery shell fired Monday appeared to have come from the al-Taiziyah district, where the Popular Committees affiliated with the Huthis and army units loyal Saleh are positioned.
The UN says the conflict has killed more than 6,600 people and displaced at least three million since a Saudi-led Arab coalition backing Hadi’s government launched operations in March 2015.
Colville said that from March 2015 through September 30, 4,014 civilians had died, and nearly 7,000 had been injured.
Casualties had climbed steeply in August and September, following the collapse of a ceasefire, with the Saudi-led coalition held responsible for six times as many civilian deaths and injuries as the rebel forces, Colville said.