Air strike hits capital of Ethiopia's Tigray region

Attack comes after Tigray leaders said they would take part in African Union-led peace process

Mekelle in Ethiopia in 2020. Kibrom Gebreselassie, chief executive of Ayder Hospital, wrote on Twitter that there had been "an early morning drone attack" on the city. AFP
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An air strike has hit the city of Mekelle, the capital of Ethiopia's northern Tigray region, a hospital official said on Tuesday.

The strike came days after Tigray's regional government said it was ready for a ceasefire and would take part in a peace process led by the African Union.

Kibrom Gebreselassie, chief executive of Ayder Hospital in Mekelle, wrote on Twitter that there had been “an early morning drone attack” on the city.

“One injured patient has arrived at Ayder. Total casualties not yet known,” he said.

Tigray regional government spokesman Getachew Reda confirmed the incident. He said Mekelle University's business campus had been hit.

The person who brought the patient to hospital said the strike hit the business campus and Dimitsi Woyane TV station, Mr Gebreselassie said.

The regional Tigray government runs the TV station.

The Tigrayan forces have accused Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of centralising power at the expense of Ethiopia's regions, which he has denied.

Mr Abiy has accused the Tigrayan forces, led by the Tigray People's Liberation Front, the region's former ruling party, of trying to reclaim power. They have denied this.

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 strikes break a truce that had held since March, shattering hopes of a peaceful resolution to a war that began nearly two years ago.

The offensives have also drawn in Eritrean troops and cut off aid deliveries into Tigray, where the UN says a lack of food, fuel and medicine is causing a humanitarian disaster.

The international community, including UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, AU Commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, has urged the warring sides to seize the moment for peace.

Addis Ababa has not yet officially commented.

An unknown number of civilians have been killed since the war erupted in Africa's second most populous country in November 2020.

Updated: September 13, 2022, 7:09 AM