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Ethiopian offensive on Tigray capital has begun: Regional leader
www.aljazeera.com

Ethiopian offensive on Tigray capital has begun: Regional leader

TPLF’s Debretsion Gebremichael says Makelle under ‘heavy bombardment’ as federal forces march towards the city.

International

The leader of rebellious forces in Tigray region says the Ethiopian government forces have begun an offensive to capture the regional capital, Makelle.

Debretsion Gebremichael, leader of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), told Reuters news agency in a text message on Saturday that the city was under “heavy bombardment”.

Billene Seyoum, a spokeswoman for the prime minister’s office, said the Ethiopian forces would not “bombard” civilian areas, adding “the safety of Ethiopians in Makelle and Tigray region continues as priority for the federal government.”

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Aid groups fear extensive civilian casualties in Makelle, a city of 500,000 people.

Al Jazeera’s Malcolm Webb, reporting from Nairobi, said he has heard from multiple sources in the Ethiopian military that their offensive on the regional capital has begun.

“Some sources are saying that the explosions can be heard in the north of the city,” he said.