Identical sources confirmed that the Ethiopian army launched air raids on the city of Mekele, causing casualties.
And the television of the Ethiopian province of Tigray reported that Mekele, the capital of the region in northern Ethiopia, was subjected to air strikes on Monday, killing civilians.
A resident of the city, an aid worker and a doctor told Reuters that Mekele had been attacked, and a diplomat in Ethiopia posted pictures of what he said were the aftermath of the strikes, including pools of blood and broken windows.
Meanwhile, eyewitnesses reported that at least 3 people were killed in the air raids carried out by the Ethiopian army on Mekele today.
For his part, Ethiopian government spokesman – Legisi Tolo – denied any attack, and said, “Why is the Ethiopian government attacking a city belonging to it? Mekele is an Ethiopian city.”
He added that those he described as “terrorists” are the ones who attack the cities with innocent civilians, not the government.
“There is no reason or plan to target civilians in Mekele which is part of Ethiopia and where our citizens live, it is pure lies,” the spokesman said, accusing the Tigray People’s Liberation Front of killing civilians in battles in the adjacent Afar region.
In a related context, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry expressed its deep dissatisfaction with the international community’s reservations about condemning what it called the ongoing atrocities committed by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.
A statement issued by the State Department Spokesperson’s Office said that making matters worse is the seemingly supportive decision of the TPLF by the European Parliament and the completely biased statement issued after the high-level ministerial meeting of the United States and its partners on the situation in northern Ethiopia.
The statement indicated that blaming one party in the conflict while whitewashing the mistakes of the other is not only biased, but also unacceptable by any standard.
The statement accused the Tigray People’s Liberation Front of causing harm to the interests of the Tigray people through continuous attacks against the people of Amhara and Afar.
He added that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front was crying last week, calling on the international community to save it from the government’s “planned” attack against it; However, it was the Front – and to speak of the statement – that launched massive and unjustified attacks on innocent civilians.
And last week, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front announced that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had ordered the army to launch a ground offensive against the movement in Tigray region in cooperation with Amhara forces.
“The ground offensive by Abi Ahmed’s forces to take control of the Tigray region has officially begun despite the continuous calls from the international community and the Tigray government to find a peaceful solution to the crisis,” a statement posted on Twitter said.
War broke out in Tigray in November between the Ethiopian army and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front – the political party that controls the area – killing thousands and forcing more than two million people to flee.
Tigray forces were forced to retreat at first, but they regained control of most of the region last July, and advanced to the neighboring regions of Amhara and Afar, which led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of others.
Diplomats fear the renewed fighting could worsen instability in Ethiopia, which has an estimated population of 109 million, and spread hunger in Tigray and surrounding areas.