Ten people were killed in a second day of air strikes on Ethiopia’s Tigray region Wednesday, a hospital official said, in attacks that came after authorities there expressed readiness for a ceasefire.
Twin drone attacks hit a residential neighbourhood in the regional capital Mekele, killing 10 people and injuring others, said Kibrom Gebreselassie, a senior official at Ayder Referral Hospital, the biggest in Tigray.
“Death toll raised to 10,” Kibrom told AFP via text message after earlier reporting six killed and more than 10 injured in the two blasts around 7:30 am (0430 GMT).
Fasika Amdeslasie, a surgeon at the same hospital, said the first bombing injured two women, followed by a second “drone strike on the people gathered to help and see the victims.”
“Among the victims, a father was dead and his son is taken to surgery”, he said on Twitter.
Earlier, a spokesman for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which has been fighting Ethiopia’s government for nearly two years, said civilians had been killed and wounded in the strike but did not provide further details.
AFP said it was not able to independently verify the claims, adding that 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.
Dimtsi Weyane, a TPLF-affiliated TV network broadcasting in Tigray, said its station was also hit on Tuesday, forcing it off air and “causing heavy human and material damage”.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has not commented on this week’s reported bombings and AFP requests to officials were not answered.
Tigray has been hit by several air strikes 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 during the early phase of the war.
TPLF military boss Tadesse Worede on Tuesday said: “Eritrean forces are in Sheraro”, a town in northwestern Tigray, where the rebels said they were resisting a major offensive by Ethiopia and Eritrean troops launched earlier this month. (AFP)