U.N. Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed (far left) sits with rebels before peace talks.
Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
U.N. Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed (far left) sits with rebels before peace talks.

Story highlights

The death toll is at least five, according to one Yemeni ministry but rebel officials say it is much higher

ISIS also claimed it attacked two mosques in March, killing more than 130 people

Peace talks are between government representatives and Houthi officials are set for Geneva

(CNN) —  

ISIS has claimed responsibility for several bombings that occurred in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa on Wednesday.

A statement posted to social media and then re-tweeted by ISIS supporters asserted that four car bombs in Sanaa targeted pro-Houthi locations, including the home of a Houthi cleric Taha al-Mutawakel.

The death toll from the attacks is unclear. Two sources from the office of Brig. Gen. Sharaf Luqman, the spokesman for the Houthi-allied army, said at least 24 people were killed. The Yemeni Ministry of Health said the number of dead was at least five.

The targets also included two mosques and a political office, ISIS claimed. Houthi officials said three mosques were among the sites attacked.

ISIS also has claimed responsibility for mosque attacks before. In March, more than 130 people were killed by suicide bombing at two mosques frequented by Houthis.

While it was not reported if any young people were killed Wednesday, UNICEF announced a day earlier that almost four times as many children have died in the past 10 weeks as a result of the conflict in Yemen as were killed in 2014.

At least 279 children have died since the latest violence escalated in March, compared to a total of 74 last year, the United Nations Children’s Fund said in a statement.

UNICEF is backing a call by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for a pause in the fighting during the holy month of Ramadan, which begins Thursday.

Peace talks, sponsored by the U.N. and including Saudi Arabia, are being held in Geneva.

“It is the important start towards the return to a political process,” Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said Tuesday. “Let us be realistic; it will be a difficult path, but the important issue is that we start addressing the crisis in all its dimensions, determination and willingness and that we start doing this now.”

Yemen has been torn by fighting between the Houthi Shiite militiamen and government forces loyal to President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi.

Hadi fled the capital, Sanaa, in March.

Iran has been accused of backing the Houthi rebels – something it denies. A coalition led by Saudi Arabia has launched airstrikes against the Houthi rebels in a bid to counteract what it sees as Iranian influence in the region.

CNN’s Mohammed Tawfeeq, Eve Parish and journalist Hakim Almasmari contributed to this report.