Air strike hits capital of Ethiopia’s Tigray region – hospital

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NAIROBI, Aug. 26 (Reuters) – An airstrike in the capital of Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region killed at least seven people on Friday, medical officials there said, the first such attack after a four-month-old truce collapsed this week.

Officials said three children were among the dead, but a federal government spokesman denied there were any civilian casualties.

The airstrike on Mekelle took place two days after fighting broke out again between the national government and Tigrayan forces on the border of the Tigray and Amhara regions, breaking the ceasefire.

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Tigrai Television, controlled by regional authorities, blamed the federal government for the strike. No other military aircraft flies in Ethiopian airspace.

The Ethiopian government then urged the residents of Tigray to stay away from military facilities, saying it plans to “take actions to attack the armed forces”.

Ayder Hospital chief executive Kibrom Gebreselassie said on Twitter that the hospital had received four deaths, including two children, and nine injured.

He said the strike had hit a children’s playground. Reuters was unable to independently verify his account. It was not clear if there were any military facilities nearby.

Federal government spokesman Legesse Tulu said the news of civilian casualties was “lies and fabricated drama” and accused the Tigrayan authorities of “dumping body bags”.

He denied that government strikes had affected civilian facilities and said they only targeted military sites.

Footage published by Tigrai TV showed a building with the roof off, revealing a twisted jumble of slides and rescuers carrying a stretcher from behind a damaged pink wall painted with a giant butterfly.

THRILLED THROUGHOUT

Fasika Amdeslasie, a surgeon at Ayder Hospital, said a colleague at Mekelle Hospital told him it had received three more bodies — a mother and her child and another unidentified person — bringing the total death toll to seven.

The bodies brought to Ayder were a boy in his early twenties, two women and a young teenager, he said.

“Their bodies were torn apart,” he told Reuters. “I’ve seen their bodies myself.”

The surgeon said restrictions on medical supplies entering Tigray meant the hospital was short of essential supplies, including intravenous fluids, antibiotics and pain relievers.

Ethiopian Health Minister Lia Tadesse did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the shortages.

A humanitarian source in Mekelle on Friday confirmed hearing an explosion and anti-aircraft fire in the city.

Government airstrikes have previously killed civilians, researchers say. In January, a drone strike killed 56 people and injured 30 people, including children, at a IDP camp in Dedebit, according to witnesses. The government has not responded to requests for comment.

The war broke out in Tigray in November 2020 and spread to the neighboring regions of Afar and Amhara a year ago. Last November, Tigrayan troops marched on Addis Ababa but were driven back by a government offensive.

A ceasefire was declared in March after both sides fought to a stalemate and the government declared a humanitarian ceasefire, allowing much-needed food aid to be delivered to the region.

When the fighting erupted this week, both blamed each other.

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Reporting by Nairobi Newsroom; Written by George Obulutsa; edit by Angus MacSwan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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