Ethiopian fighter jets bombed the capital of the Tigray state

11/17/2020

Ethiopian fighter jets bombed the capital of the Tigray state
Addis Ababa faces accusations of an ethnic purge

Ethiopa conflict in Tigray region sparks war crime fear as some 14,500 flee to sudan, UN says.

Hundreds of people have been killed and some 25,000 have fled to Sudan since the start of the government’s military operation against Tigray’s rulers almost two weeks ago.

Tigray's leaders have accused Eritrea of attacking at the invitation of Ethiopia's Government in wake of the regional conflict which erupted on November 4 with an attack by Tigray's forces on an Ethiopian federal military base.

In a security alert, the US embassy in Eritrea said "a series of loud noises were heard in Asmara" on Saturday night.

"Unconfirmed reports indicate they may have been explosive devices believed to be in the vicinity of the Asmara International Airport," it added.

"There are no indications the airport was struck."

In a statement, the US strongly condemned the Tigray region's "unjustifiable attacks against Eritrea … and its efforts to internationalise the conflict".

Mr Debretsion says about 16 Eritrean military divisions are fighting in what he has called a "full-scale war" in the region, and denies reports Tigray regional forces have entered Eritrea.

"As long as troops are here fighting, we will take any legitimate military target and we will fire," Mr Debretsion said.

The Tigray regional leader would not say how many missiles remained at his forces' disposal but said: "We have several. We can use it selectively, anywhere."

When asked about targeting Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, he replied: "I don't want to tell you, but the missiles are long-range as well."

Eritrean officials have not responded to requests for comment.

Ethiopian fighter jets have bombed the capital of the restive Tigray state, several sources have said, as the federal government resisted international pressure for mediation in the conflict with forces loyal to the regional governing party.

Ann Encontre, representative of the United Nations refugee agency in Ethiopia, said colleagues in the city of Mekelle, on Monday, reported witnessing “an air strike, not far from them”.

“We don’t know the target and who was targeted,” she told Al Jazeera from Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. “We have intermitted communication with colleagues when we do get access to the internet, but still we know that everybody was deadly afraid and civilians started moving right away.”

The Ethiopian air force dropped bombs in and around Mekelle, according to four diplomatic and military sources cited by Reuters News Agency. There was no information on casualties or damage and there was no immediate comment from the Ethiopian government.

Debretsion Gebremichael, leader of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), said at least two civilians had been killed and several wounded. He said in a text message to Reuters that while Mekelle had been bombed, the town of Alamata in southern Tigray had been hit by a drone attack.

Ethiopia’s task force said earlier that federal troops had “liberated” Alamata, about 120km (75 miles) from Mekelle. There was no immediate comment from Tigray’s leaders about Alamata.

 

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