Ethiopia launches fourth air raid this week on Tigray capital
Gov’t says sattack aimed for facility in Mekelle used for military training, but TPLF says plane did not hit any targets.
21 Oct 2021
Ethiopia has said it had launched another air raid on Mekelle, the capital of war-battered Tigray, the fourth such bombardment this week in a campaign it says is targeting rebel facilities.
The latest attack was aimed at a facility “currently serving TPLF for military training”, government spokesman Legesse Tulu told the AFP news agency on Thursday, referring to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front rebel group.
However, it was unclear if the attack was successful, with TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda telling AFP the group’s air defence units managed “to foil its mission”.
“I can see it’s trying a third time and we will see what will happen,” he said.
War broke out in November 2020 between federal troops and the TPLF, which governed Ethiopia for three decades but now controls just the northern region.
Thousands of people have been killed and more than two million people have been forced to flee.
Tigray itself has 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 air raids in Tigray’s capital Mekelle that the UN said killed three children and wounded several other people.
On Wednesday, Ethiopia said it bombed TPLF weapons caches in Mekelle and in the town of Agbe, which lies about 80km (50 miles) to the west. The TPLF denied they were military targets.
A hospital official told AFP that Wednesday’s attack in Mekelle injured at least eight people, including a pregnant woman.
There was no immediate word on casualties from Thursday’s attack.
The international community has voiced alarm about the latest attacks, which the TPLF claims show a disregard for civilian lives.