The Ethiopian army launched a fresh airstrike on the capital of the Tigray region on Wednesday, the second time in three days that the city of Mekelle has been bombed.
According to the central committee of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the Ethiopian air force shelled a residential area, injuring civilians. The government confirmed the attack but claimed it had specifically targeted TPLF military facilities.
The Ethiopian army launched a new military offensive against TPLF rebels last week. The military conflict began 11 months ago when Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy attempted the ouster of the TPLF from its power base in the Tigray region.
The TPLF dominated Ethiopian politics for a quarter of a century until Abiy came to power in 2018. Many in Tigray feel unrepresented by the central government and are demanding greater autonomy.
Since the beginning of August, the conflict in Tigray has spread to the neighbouring Afar and Amhara regions and has led to a severe humanitarian crisis in the north of the country.
On Monday, the army launched two airstrikes on Mekelle, killing at least three people and injuring dozens more, according to the TPLF.
The Ethiopian air force said it had only attacked communication towers and facilities. The United Nations called the bombing “alarming.”
The city of Mekelle is home to over 200,000 people, though more than double that number are believed to live in the entire metropolitan area.