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FRIDAY, 25 APR 2014
09:44 AM Beirut time
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Death toll from Yemen shelling of funeral tent rises to 19
Agence France Presse
A police trooper mans a machine gun mounted on an armoured personnel carrier at checkpoint in Sanaa December 25, 2013. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
A police trooper mans a machine gun mounted on an armoured personnel carrier at checkpoint in Sanaa December 25, 2013. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
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ADEN: The death toll from the army's shelling of a funeral tent erected by the Southern Movement at a school in Yemen has risen up to 19, including four children, medics said Saturday.

Witnesses and southern activists had said two tanks shelled the tent in Sanah, 300 kilometres (185 miles) south of the capital, in an attack on Friday that prompted calls to arms by hardliners within the Southern Movement.

Medics had on Friday put the toll from the attack at 13 dead.

But on Saturday, figures gathered by AFP from six medical centres showed that the toll had risen to 19 dead, among them four children, and 23 wounded.

The Southern Movement -- which is campaigning for autonomy or outright secession -- had set up the tent for mourners paying their condolences after a man was killed in clashes with security forces in Daleh on Monday.

The clashes in Daleh erupted when secessionists tried to storm the governorate building to hoist the flag of the former South Yemen. The fighting left two Yemeni policemen and a civilian dead.

In a statement, the supreme council of the Southern Movement headed by prominent activist Hassan Baoum, said: "The horrific massacre that the Yemeni occupation regime has committed... affirms the need for the people of the south to take up arms in face of the genocide it is committing against" them.

After British colonial rule ended in 1967, southern Yemen was independent until union with the north in 1990.

A secession attempt four years later sparked a brief but bloody civil war that ended with northern forces taking over the south.

A long-running dispute over whether and how to grant the south limited autonomy has hindered the political transition following the 33-year rule of Ali Abdullah Saleh, who stepped down last year following Arab Spring-inspired protests.

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