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Ethiopia: One killed in air strike on Tigray capital

 Ethiopia: One killed in air strike on Tigray capital
People run next to black smoke and flames in the aftermath at the scene of an ....   -  
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In the latest development, one person has been killed in an air strike in the capital of Tigray, the main hospital in the northern Ethiopian breakaway region said on Friday.

"There was a drone attack this morning at around 5.30 am (0230 GMT). A 60-year-old man was killed," Kibrom Gebreselassie, an official at Ayder Hospital in Mekele, told AFP.

"A dead body has arrived at Ayder hospital after a drone attack in Mekele town around Desta hotel," the hospital announced on its Twitter account.

AFP is unable to verify these claims.

The Ethiopian government regularly asserts that it only targets military targets and accuses the rebels of staging civilian deaths.

Fighting resumed on 24 August between rebels and pro-government forces after a five-month truce. Since then, at least 17 people have died in air strikes, according to hospital officials.

Northern Ethiopia has been engulfed in war since November 2020, after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent the army to dislodge regional authorities from the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), accusing them of attacking military bases.

The return of violence over the past month has dashed the slim hopes of peace negotiations.

The rebel authorities said on 14 September that they were ready for talks under the aegis of the African Union, removing a major obstacle to discussions with the government. Fighting however persists.

The rebels and several Western countries have denounced the presence of forces from Eritrea, a country bordering northern Tigray that has already lent a hand to the Ethiopian army during the first phase of the conflict.

The outcome of this war is unknown. It has been marked by abuses against civilians by both sides, displacing millions of people and plunging hundreds of thousands more into near-starvation conditions, according to the UN.

A UN expert report on Monday accused the federal government and its allies of crimes against humanity and of using famine as a weapon of war by blocking basic services and access to the region, where 90 percent of the population is in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

The government rejected the report, denouncing its "contradictory and biased" findings.

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