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Ethiopia forces accused of deadly attack as Tigray war escalates

An air raid killed at the very least four people, including two children, in the administrative centre of Ethiopias northern Tigray region, the top of a hospital said.

The government denied the allegations saying the air force only targeted military sites and accused Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) forces of staging civilian deaths.

Tigray Television, controlled by the regional authorities, said the attack in Mekelle happened at around 09: 40 GMT on Friday and blamed it on the government. No other military aircraft are recognized to operate in Ethiopian airspace.

Authorities spokesperson Legesse Tulu and military spokesperson Colonel Getnet Adane didn’t react to queries concerning the air raid, which happened days after fighting resumed between your national government and Tigray forces on the border of the Tigray and Amhara regions.

Kibrom Gebreselassie, leader of Ayder Hospital, said the bombing hit a childrens playground. It had been not immediately clear if there have been any military facilities nearby.

Tigray Television quoted witnesses saying a kindergarten called Red Kids Paradise in the Tigrayan capital was struck in the attack. It aired graphic images of children and adults with dismembered bodies filmed in the aftermath on the floor being attended by medical personnel.

Homes close to the kindergarten also were hit in the strike, broadcaster Dimtsi Weyane reported.

Tigrayan officials called the air strike a heartless, sadistic assault.

This vicious regime has outdone itself with todays deliberate targeting of a childrens building, they said in a statement.

A humanitarian source in the town confirmed hearing an explosion and anti-aircraft gunfire.

Fake body bags

Kibrom said on Twitter a healthcare facility received four dead from the air raid, two of these children, and nine others were admitted with wounds.

More casualties are arriving. The full total number up to now inside our hospital is 13, he said.

Al Jazeera cannot independently verify the comments.

Both sides have blamed one another for breaking a four-month-old ceasefire between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmeds government and the TPLF, the group that controls Tigray.

Civilians are dead and injured and a rescue operation was under way, said Kindeya Gebrehiwot, a TPLF spokesman, after Fridays air raid.

Ethiopias Government Communications Service in a statement said the federal government will need action targeting the military forces which are the foundation of the anti-peace sentiment of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front.

The Ethiopian Air Force is actually reversing the attack launched against Ethiopia by targeting only military sites, the federal government Communication Service said.

However, the terrorist TPLF has begun dumping fake body bags in civilian areas to be able to declare that the Air Force attacked civilians.

Stephane Djarric, spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, said he cannot confirm the reports of civilian deaths from air strikes.

Its an extremely concerning development This can be a good possibility to reaffirm the secretary generals require a cessation of hostilities, Djarric told reporters.

Famine and millions displaced

Etana Habte Dinka, from James Madison University, said since federal forces withdrew from Tigray months ago the spot has been under siege with food, fuel, along with other goods being prevented from entering.

It is important is approximately the timing. Its vital that you know why this war resumed at this time. The Addis Ababa government will need to have known that Tigrayan forces are in their weakest point. The organisation and relaunch of war is essential, he told Al Jazeera.

War erupted in Tigray in November 2020 and spread to the neighbouring parts of Afar and Amhara this past year. Last November, Tigrayan forces marched towards Addis Ababa, but were driven back by way of a government offensive that month.

A ceasefire was announced in March after both sides fought to a bloody impasse and the federal government declared a humanitarian truce, allowing badly needed food aid in to the region.

The fighting has displaced thousands of people, pushed elements of Tigray into famine conditions and killed a large number of civilians.

Almost all residents of Tigray experienced no usage of telephone or online sites for greater than a year.

The go back to combat has alarmed the international community, which includes been pushing both sides to peacefully resolve the brutal 21-month war in Africas second-most populous nation.

Because the end of June, Abiys government and the rebels have repeatedly stated their willingness to enter peace negotiations, but disagreed on the terms of such talks. In recent weeks, too, they will have accused one another of finding your way through a go back to battle.



Al Jazeera and news agencies

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