Ethiopia's Tigray leaders claim airport rocket attacks, threaten Eritrea

Members of the Amhara Special Force in Danasha, near a border with Tigray, Ethiopia, on Nov 9, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

ADDIS ABABA • Two airports in Ethiopia's Amhara state which neighbours Tigray where federal troops are fighting local forces have been targeted by rocket fire, the government said, as an 11-day conflict widened.

The airport in Gondar in Amhara state, which neighbours Tigray, was hit on Friday, while another rocket aimed at the Bahir Dar airport missed the target, the government said.

The ruling Tigray party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), said the Tigray Defence Forces conducted missile strikes in military bases in Bahir Dar and Gondar in retaliation for air strikes conducted by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's forces in various parts of the state.

"As long as the attacks on the people of Tigray do not stop, the attacks will intensify," Mr Getachew Reda, a spokesman for the TPLF, said in a statement on the Facebook page of the Tigray state's communications office.

Mr Getachew also threatened to strike neighbouring Eritrea by launching "missile attacks to foil military movements in Massawa and Asmara", referring to cities in Eritrea.

The war has already killed hundreds, pushed thousands of civilians into neighbouring Sudan, and raised fears it may draw in Eritrea or pressure Ethiopia's commitment to an African force opposing Al-Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia.

It may also blemish the reputation of Mr Abiy, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for a 2018 peace pact with Eritrea and had won plaudits for opening Ethiopia's economy and easing a repressive political system.

Tigray's leader, Mr Debretsion Gebremichael, said last Tuesday that Eritrea had sent troops across the border in support of Ethiopian government forces, but this was denied by Eritrea.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 15, 2020, with the headline Ethiopia's Tigray leaders claim airport rocket attacks, threaten Eritrea. Subscribe