Ethiopia: Army Launches Air Strikes Outside Tigray Capital

24 October 2021

The Ethiopian military on Sunday carried out airstrikes on two rebel-held towns in northern and western Tigray. The ongoing aerial offensive campaigns are aimed at weakening Tigray forces.

Ethiopia government spokesperson Selamawit Kassa said that Sunday's air raids targeted a training and military command post of the Tigrayan rebel group, Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) in Mai-Tsebri town in western front.

A second raid struck the historic Adwa town where the Almeda Textile factory was targeted.

Selamawit said the same mission destroyed a separate facility in the northern town of Adwa which was used to manufacture "military equipment" as well as fake military uniforms used by TPLF combatants.

Rebel spokesman, Getachew Reda later on Sunday confirmed the fresh airstrikes but said the raids did not target the military.

"Abiy Ahmed's Air Force did target a local hospital in May-Tsebri. Ironically, they also targeted what little is left of Almeda Textile in Adwa" Getachew said.

Textile factory

The rebel official further said that the textile factory had been totally destroyed by Ethiopian and allied Eritrean forces months ago during their presence in Tigray.

Some TPLF sources said that Ethiopia is deliberately destroying big industrial facilities which are the economic sources and assets of the Tigrayan people.

A few days ago, bomber jets struck Mesfin Industrial Engineering PLC, a leading equipment designing and manufacturing company in East Africa which Addis Ababa suspects it supports the TPLF.

At least three people were killed and over 20 are injured since the Ethiopian military launched the aerial bombardment campaign in Tigray last Monday.

TPLF accuses the government of targeting civilians, an allegation Addis Ababa denies.

"They are desperate on the war front. My interpretation is they are bombing us because they are losing on the ground and it's their reprisal. The fact that they are bombing shows they don't care about Tigrayan civilians" TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael, told Reuters on Thursday.

Caught in a crossfire

On Friday, airstrikes near Mekelle Airport forced a UN flight carrying 11 humanitarian personnel to abort landing in Mekelle and to turn back to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Following the incident, the UN subsequently announced that it was suspending its twice-weekly flights to the troubled region.

TPLF on Friday criticised Ethiopia for "deliberately" putting the UN flight at risk.

"Our air defense units knew the UN plane was scheduled to land and it was due in large measure to their restraint that it was not caught in a crossfire," Getachew said on Twitter.

TPLF further accused the Ethiopian government of "intention to continue obstructing humanitarian operations".

The latest airstrikes outside the Tigray capital come as fighting between TPLF and Ethiopian and allied Amhara regional forces escalates in the Amhara region.

After the renewed heavy fighting, the rivals claim victories on battlefields in Amhara and Afar fronts.

Today, TPLF claimed to have captured a strategic town which is close to Dessie, one of the biggest cities in the Amhara region.

"Kuta-Ber is in the hands of the Tigrayan Army after a heavy fight involving a motley crew of Abiy Ahmed's regular army, Amhara Special forces, Fano, militia as well as machete wielding civilians" said Getachew in a tweet later on Sunday.

Nation can't independently verify the claims but TPLF news sources have shared videos and pictures to support the claim.

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