By Ebi Kesiena
Ethiopia’s military on Sunday launched two airstrikes on what a government official said were rebel-held facilities in Tigray, capping a week of near-daily attacks in the war-torn northern region.
The strikes, far from the regional capital Mekele, signalled the military was potentially widening its campaign of aerial bombardments which has drawn international rebukes and disrupted UN flights to the famine-threatened territory.
“Today the western front of (Mai Tsebri) which was serving as a training and military command post for the terrorist group TPLF has been the target of an air strike,” Government Spokesman Selamawit Kassa said, referring to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Later, Selamawit said the same mission destroyed a separate facility in the northern town of Adwa used to manufacture “military equipment” as well as fake military uniforms used by TPLF combatants.
TPLF Spokesman Getachew Reda, said on Twitter that the target in Mai Tsebri was a hospital, and that the target in Adwa was a textiles factory that was looted in an earlier stage of the conflict by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers.
Selamawit, however, said the Mai Tsebri strike only targeted a military training and command base” of the TPLF, while confirming that Getachew was correct about the textiles factory.
The TPLF has condemned earlier strikes as evidence of the government’s disregard for civilian lives.
There was no immediate information on casualties in either Mai Tsebri or Adwa.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has been locked in a war against the TPLF since last November, though Tigray itself had seen little combat since late June, when the rebels seized control of much of Ethiopia’s northernmost region and the military largely withdrew.