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17 children killed in Yemen in January: UNICEF

17 children have been killed in Yemen this month as a result of ongoing fighting in the war-torn country

Seventeen children have been killed in Yemen this month as a result of ongoing fighting in the war-torn country, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said.

"According to reports, the number of children killed only since the beginning of the year is 17," Ted Chaiban, UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

He added that the number "is nearly double the number in the whole of last December."

Chaiban said children "continue to be the first and most to pay" during the seven-year conflict in Yemen, adding that more than 10,000 children have been injured or killed in the country since 2014.

READ: Saudi-led airstrike on Yemeni prison kills at least 70: International Medical NGO

"The actual number is likely much higher," he said, calling on Yemen's warring rivals and countries with influence on them "to respect international law and protect civilians, including children, at all times."

"Civilians and civilian objects including education and medical facilities should not be a target and must always be respected," he said.

Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when Iran-aligned Houthis captured much of the country, including Sanaa.

The conflict has caused one of the world's worst man-made humanitarian crises, with nearly 80% or around 30 million people needing humanitarian assistance and protection and more than 13 million in danger of starvation, according to UN estimates.

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