Air Strikes Hit Capital Of Ethiopia's Tigray: Sources
Sumaira FH 2 months ago Mon 18th October 2021 | 06:00 PM
Addis Ababa, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 18th Oct, 2021 ) :Ethiopian forces hit the northern city of Mekele with air strikes on Monday, humanitarian officials and diplomats told AFP, the first reported bombing raids over the Tigrayan capital since the early stages of the year-long war.
"Air strike now in Mekele," one humanitarian official in the city said via SMS to AFP on condition of anonymity, describing attacks also confirmed by a second humanitarian source, two diplomats and a rebel spokesman.
The first raid occurred in the morning on the outskirts of Mekele near a cement factory, the sources said.
The second took place around midday in the city centre near the Planet Hotel, often used by top officials from the TPLF, the region's former ruling party and the target of a government military operation since November 2020.
The TPLF said government forces were "losing big" and the aerial assaults were designed to inflict civilian casualties as revenge.
The reports could not be independently verified and government officials could not be reached for comment.
Medical officials in Mekele could not immediately be contacted to provide information on casualties.
- Rebel push - The aerial bombardment came as the TPLF appeared to be moving south of Tigray toward Dessie, a city in Amhara region where tens of thousands have sought refuge from the rebel advance since July.
One resident told AFP that Dessie was "flooded" with displaced civilians arriving from Wuchale, another town to the north.
"If that's what it takes to break the siege on Tigray, why not?" he told AFP in a text message.
Government and military officials have so far offered little information about the latest surge in fighting, which comes shortly after Abiy was sworn in for a new term two weeks ago.
However a military official in Amhara told AFP on Monday the TPLF's claim to have taken Wuchale was false.
In July the TPLF pushed into the neighbouring Afar and Amhara regions, a move it said was intended to prevent government forces from regrouping and to break what it describes as a humanitarian siege of Tigray, where the UN estimates hundreds of thousands face famine-like conditions.
There were reports last week of fresh clashes between government and rebel forces in Afar, a region bordering Tigray, after a month-long lull and in a further sign of a new offensive by government troops.