At Least 64 Killed In Ethiopian Air Strike On Tigray Market

At Least 64 Killed In Ethiopian Air Strike On Tigray Market

At least 64 people were killed and 180 injured in an Ethiopian air strike on a market in the war-torn Tigray region, a local health official told AFP Thursday.

“The air strike was in the market area, so many, many people were injured,” said Mulu Atsbaha, an advisor to the Tigray regional administration on maternal and child health.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 11, 2020 Youngsters walk next to an abandoned tank belonging to Tigrayan forces south of the town of Mehoni, Ethiopia. – US President Joe Biden condemned the six-month conflict in Ethiopia’s war-hit Tigray region May 26, 2021 calling for a ceasefire and declaring that human rights abuses “must end.” (Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP)

The strike on Tuesday in Togoga town also left 180 injured, Mulu added.

He said the toll had been gathered from residents of Togoga town, 30 kilometres (18 miles) north-west of the regional capital Mekele, and “confirmed with local leaders”.

Ethiopia’s army spokesman said Thursday that the military carried out the attack on Togoga, but said rebel fighters were the target.

“We do not accept that this operation targeted civilians,” Colonel Getnet Adane told AFP, insisting that those injured or killed were fighters “in civilian clothes”.

But survivors and health workers described aerial explosions striking a busy market at the peak of trading, killing and injuring dozens, including children.

The United Nations has called for an urgent investigation into the strike.

The attack came as vote counting was underway following Monday’s national elections in Ethiopia. However, the conflict in Tigray meant no vote was held there, and the region has seen an upsurge in fighting in recent days.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops to Tigray in November to oust the dissident regional leadership, promising a swift victory.

But nearly eight months later, fighting continues, which has triggered a humanitarian crisis with the UN warning 350,000 people are on the brink of famine.

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