A television channel of the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia reported that Mekele, the regional capital, was bombed by air on Wednesday morning, for the second time this week.
Tigray TV, which is controlled by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, said the attack targeted the city center. He posted pictures of what appeared to be billowing plumes of smoke, but Reuters could not immediately determine where the pictures were taken.
This bombing comes days after a new ground military attack on the Tigray forces, which have been engaged in military confrontations against the Ethiopian government and its allied forces for nearly a year, killing thousands and displacing more than two million residents.
The LTTE accused the Ethiopian government of carrying out the attacks, and although a government official initially denied the strikes, state media later reported that the air force launched an attack on the territory.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front forces regained control of Mekele last June, 7 months after it fell to the Ethiopian forces backed by Eritrean forces.
The strikes came on the heels of intense fighting in two other Ethiopian districts, as the federal government’s army attempts to retake lands captured by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front in the north of the country.
The strikes escalated days after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed inaugurated a new 5-year term, and amid threats of US sanctions against individuals and entities responsible for the violence in Tigray.
The spokesman for the Secretary-General of the UN, Stephane Dujarric, said on Monday that the airstrikes launched by the Ethiopian forces on Mekele could severely disrupt relief operations and affect civilians, stressing the need to ensure rapid passage of relief operations to avoid famine.
The UN spokesperson stated that there is a deep concern “about the escalation of the conflict in northern Ethiopia,” stressing the need for “all parties to avoid targeting civilians or civilian infrastructure.”
Dujarric renewed the Secretary-General’s call for a halt to all hostilities, urging the parties to “prioritize the well-being of people and provide the necessary support to the flow of vital humanitarian assistance, including facilitating the movement of fuel and medicine deliveries.”