AL-MUKALLA: A six-year-old Yemeni boy died on Sunday after Houthi shelling of a residential area in the besieged city of Taiz, a local medic told Arab News.

From their positions outside the city, the Houthis on Saturday afternoon fired an artillery barrage at houses in the densely populated city, fatally wounding Albara Murad Abdullah Al-Sharef and 11 more children who were playing outside their houses.

Ahmed Mansour, a local health official, told Arab News that the remaining 11 children are suffering from different degrees of shrapnel wounds and are being treated at a local hospital.

“Their cases are generally stable. They suffer from shrapnel wounds in their hands and abdomens,” he said.  

The Houthi shelling of Taiz is the latest in a string of similar deadly attacks that have occurred over the past four months.

Residents in the city say they had not benefited from the UN-brokered truce that came into effect April 2, as the Houthis have not lifted the siege or stopped targeting residential areas in the city.

The latest Houthi mortar attack ignited anger in the city and outrage among Yemenis who warned against the collapse of the truce.

Hours after the shelling, dozens of people in Taiz staged a small protest in front of a local hotel that hosts the head of the UN-facilitated military coordination committee, Brig. Gen. Antony Hayward, and called him and the UN to denounce the Houthi attacks on civilians.

The protesters raised pictures of the targeted children and slogans that called for ending the shelling and the siege.

“The Houthi militia continues to commit massacres against civilians,” read one of the posters.

“Full lifting of the siege is an inalienable human right,” read another poster.

At the same time, government officials and human rights activists urged the international community, mainly the UN, to clearly reprimand the Houthis for their continuous violations of the truce.

“This heinous crime, during UN truce & presence of a UN delegation in Taiz to monitor truce, confirms Houthi terrorist militia’s defiance of intl (sic) community & indifference to intl de-escalation calls & efforts to alleviate human suffering, & put an end to civilians’ suffering,” Yemen’s Information Minister Muammar Al-Eryani tweeted.  

Abdul Baset Al-Qaedi, undersecretary at Yemen’s Ministry of Information, said the sounds of explosions from Houthi attacks on the city have not stopped since the beginning of the truce, accusing the Houthis of exploiting the truce to attack Taiz.

“The killing continues on a daily basis, and this child is one of the victims of the shelling of the criminal Houthi militia,” Al-Qaedi said.

Save the Children said in a statement that some of the wounded children are under five, urging warring factions in Yemen to avoid targeting children during the conflict.

“Our team reported that some of the kids are in critical conditions and most of them are under five years old,” the international aid organization said.

“It’s the warring parties’ responsibility to protect children and spare them this horror at all costs.”