Government neither confirms nor denies strike, the first attack on Mekele since truce fell through on Thursday
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
An airstrike allegedly hitting buildings has been reported in the capital of the rebel-held Tigray region in northern Ethiopia on Friday, according to local reports.
Collapsed buildings and medical personnel attending to injured people in the city of Mekele were shown in a report by Tigray TV, the broadcaster of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which has been engaged in armed conflict with the Ethiopian government since November 2020.
The government has so far neither confirmed nor denied the strike, which came a day after both sides declared that a five-month cease-fire had been broken.
Both the government and rebels traded blame for initiating a military escalation along the administrative border between the Amhara and Tigray state that ended the truce.
An earlier statement issued by the Government Communication Service said Ethiopian forces would conduct surgical operations targeting military training centers and arms depots in Tigray.
The government has expressed readiness to engage in talks with the rebels in the past several months without any pre-conditions as long as they are held under the sole mediation of the African Union.
But, the Tigray rebels rejected the African Union as a mediator, recommending that talks be held with Kenyan outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta acting as a mediator.
Thousands, mostly civilians, have been killed and millions displaced since the conflict began, with the UN blaming both sides for the deaths.
The UN has warned that Tigray “stands on the edge of a humanitarian disaster,” with more than 40% of the region’s estimated 6 million people in need of emergency assistance.
It also said that more than 5 million people were internally displaced in Afar and Amhara regional states where Tigrayan forces made military incursions a year ago, inflicting huge humanitarian and property damage.
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