News ID: 276815
Published: 0215 GMT November 15, 2020

Ethiopia's Tigray leader confirms bombing Eritrean capital

Ethiopia's Tigray leader confirms bombing Eritrean capital
TIKSA NEGERI/REUTERS
Tigray Regional President Debretsion Gebremichael attends the funeral ceremony of Ethiopia's Army Chief of Staff Seare Mekonnen in Mekele, Tigray Region, Ethiopia, on June 26, 2019.

Rebellious forces from Ethiopia’s Tigray region fired rockets at the airport in Eritrea’s capital Asmara on Saturday evening, their leader said on Sunday, confirming earlier reports of a major escalation in a 12-day-old conflict in Ethiopia.

Fighting is still continuing on several fronts” in Ethiopia, Debretsion Gebremichael told Reuters in a text message.

Five regional diplomats told Reuters shortly after the attack that at least three rockets were fired at Eritreas capital from Ethiopia on Saturday night. At least two of the rockets hit Asmara airport, three of the diplomats said.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched a military offensive in the restive Tigray northern region on November 4, after accusing Tigrayan forces of attacking federal troops based in the northern region, which borders Eritrea and Sudan.

His government says the Ethiopian military has been carrying out airstrikes in an attempt to destroy equipment including arms depots controlled by the insurgents.

The Tigrayan leader, communicating by text message, also said that his forces have been fighting 16 divisions” of the Eritrean Army on several fronts” for the past few days. He did not give an estimate for how many troops he believes Eritrea has deployed. Eritrea has a vast standing army which the US CIA puts at 200,000 personnel.

He said Eritrean forces have crossed into Ethiopia at Badme, Rama and Zalambessa, three border towns in the restive northern region.

Our country is attacking us with a foreign country, Eritrea. Treason!” he told Reuters in a text message.

Ahmed has denied that Eritrean forces have been involved in the conflict.

In a statement on Twitter on Sunday, Abiy asserted that Ethiopian forces were more than capable of achieving their military objectives in Tigray.

Eritreas government has also denied involvement in the conflict.

Officials in Asmara were not immediately reachable after the strikes.

Gebremichael said on Tuesday that Eritrea had sent troops over the border in support of Abiys government, but provided no evidence.

Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh Mohammed denied this at the time, telling Reuters: We are not part of the conflict.”

Ethiopian government fighter jets have been pounding targets in Tigray.

The government sent troops and military jets into Tigray to end a months-long feud with its ruling party, which Abiy accuses of seeking to destabilize Ethiopia.

The prime minister said the conflict would end as soon as the criminal junta is disarmed, legitimate administration in the region restored, and fugitives apprehended and brought to justice.”

 

 

   
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Resource: Reuters
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