International

Ethiopia launches air strike on Tigray's 'western front'

Armed Tigray forces, center, accompany captured Ethiopian government soldiers and allied militia members as they are paraded through the streets in open-top trucks, as are taken to a detention center in Mekele, the capital of the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia on October 22, 2021. | Photo Credit: AP
AFP Addis Ababa 24 October 2021 16:42 IST
Updated: 24 October 2021 16:42 IST

This is the seventh aerial bombardment in the war-hit region in a week

Ethiopia's military launched an air strike on a rebel-held facility in Tigray's west on Sunday, a government official said, the seventh aerial bombardment in the war-hit region in a week.

"Today the western front of (Mai Tsebri) which was serving as a training and military command post for the terrorist group TPLF has been the target of an air strike," government spokeswoman Selamawit Kassa said, referring to the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).

Also Read: Tigray’s woes: On the conflict in Ethiopia’s north

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Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government has been locked in a war against the TPLF since last November, though Tigray itself had seen little combat since late June, when the rebels seized control of much of Ethiopia's northernmost region and the military largely withdrew.

But on Monday Ethiopia's air force launched two strikes on Tigray's capital Mekele that the UN said killed three children and wounded several other people.

Since then there have been three more strikes on Mekele and another targeting what the government described as a weapons cache in the town of Agbe, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) to the west.

The strikes coincide with ramped-up fighting in Amhara region, south of Tigray.

They have drawn rebukes from Western powers, with the US last week condemning "the continuing escalation of violence, putting civilians in harm's way".

Also Watch: Explained: Ethiopia's political crisis

A strike Friday on Mekele forced a UN flight carrying 11 humanitarian personnel to turn back to Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, and the UN subsequently announced it was suspending its twice-weekly flights to the region.

The conflict has spurred fears of widespread starvation, as the UN estimates it has pushed 400,000 people in Tigray into famine-like conditions.

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