ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia’s military launched deadly air strikes on the Tigrayan capital Mekele on Monday. The government initially dismissed the reports as an “absolute lie”, but later confirmed the reports.

A hospital official in Mekele said three people were killed, including two children, in the first air raids reported over the northern city since the early stages of the almost year-long war in northern Ethiopia.

The bombardments came as the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appeared to be pressing a new offensive against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

The United Nations said it was seeking to verify the “alarming” reports and voiced deep concern about the escalation of the conflict.

The sources said the first raid occurred near a cement factory on the outskirts of Mekele, the city held by the TPLF since it was recaptured from government forces in June.

The second hit the city centre near the Planet Hotel, often used by top officials from the TPLF, the region’s former ruling party and the target of a military operation since November.

Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2021

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