Twin airstrikes kill 10 people in Ethiopia’s Tigray region: Hospital official

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Ten people were killed Wednesday in a second day of airstrikes on Ethiopia’s Tigray, a hospital official said, in attacks that came shortly after authorities in the war-torn region expressed readiness for a ceasefire.

Kibrom Gebreselassie, a senior official at Ayder Referral Hospital, the biggest in Tigray, told AFP that the “death toll (was) raised to ten,” after two drone attacks on a residential neighborhood in the regional capital Mekele.

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The attack struck a residential neighborhood in the regional capital Mekele, “killing and wounding innocent civilians,” tweeted Getachew Reda, spokesman for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which has been fighting Ethiopia’s government for nearly two years.

AFP was not able to independently verify the claims. Access to northern Ethiopia is severely restricted and Tigray has been under a communications blackout for over a year.

The reported attack followed a drone strike on Tuesday on Mekele University, which the TPLF said caused injuries and property damage.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has not commented on this week’s reported bombings.

Tigray has been hit by several airstrikes since fighting resumed in late August between government forces and their allies and TPLF rebels in northern Ethiopia.

The return to combat shattered a March truce and dashed hopes of peacefully resolving the war, which has killed untold numbers of civilians and triggered a humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia.

Both sides have accused the other of firing first, and fighting has spread from around southern Tigray to other fronts farther north and west, while also drawing in Eritrean troops who backed Ethiopian forces in the early phase of the war.

On Sunday, the TPLF said it was ready for a ceasefire and would accept a peace process led by the African Union, removing an obstacle to negotiations with Abiy’s government.

The international community has urged the warring sides to seize the moment for peace.

Addis Ababa is still yet to officially comment on the overture by Tigrayan authorities, which dominated national politics for nearly three decades until Abiy came to power in 2018.

Abiy’s government has declared the TPLF a terrorist group, and considers its claim to authority in Tigray illegitimate.

Untold numbers of civilians have been killed since the war erupted in Africa’s second most populous country, and grave rights violations by all sides against civilians have been documented.

Abiy, a Nobel Peace laureate, sent troops into Tigray in November 2020 to topple the TPLF in response to what he said were attacks on federal army camps.

Read more: Ethiopia’s Tigray rebels say ready for AU-led peace talks

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