9 killed as violence rocks Yemen

A third day of fighting, including a mortar attack on unarmed protesters, killed nine people, medical officials said.

The latest deaths took to at least 60 the number of people killed since Sunday, as anti-regime protesters step up their campaign to topple President Ali Abdullah Saleh and a key military unit supporting them is drawn deeper into the fighting. Saleh’s forces have hit back with attacks by rooftop snipers and shelling of protest encampments.

In Geneva, the United Nations said on Tuesday that four children were killed by live ammunition during the unrest on Sunday and Monday. Marixie Mercado, a spokeswoman for the UN children’s fund, also said that 18 minors were injured.

Mercado told reporters in Geneva that the casualties were confirmed by Unicef’s local partners in Yemen.

Yemen’s turmoil began in February as the unrest spreading throughout the Arab world set off largely peaceful protests in the deeply impoverished and unstable corner of the Arabian Peninsula that is also home to an al-Qaeda offshoot blamed for several nearly successful attempts to attack the United States.

The government has responded with a heavy crackdown.

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