The first air strike wounded two people but the second was deadly, with rescuers among those killed in Mekele, the capital of Tigray region.

Since November 2020, tens of thousands are believed to have been killed and millions displaced in the Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions.
Since November 2020, tens of thousands are believed to have been killed and millions displaced in the Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions. (AP)

Two air strikes have hit the capital of Ethiopia’s Tigray region, killing 10 people, many of them first responders, the director of the city’s flagship Ayder Referral Hospital said.

The target in Mekele on Wednesday morning “was a residential neighbourhood,” Kibrom Gebreselassie told The Associated Press on Wednesday. 

“Three of the victims need urgent major surgery, in the face of (a) shortage of medicines.”

The first air strike wounded two people but the second was deadly, with rescuers among those killed, Kibrom said.

The death toll could climb as more patients reach the hospital, another doctor said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly. 

READ MORE: Türkiye concerned over return of Ethiopia conflict, urges talks

Cessation of hostilities

In a weekend statement to mark Ethiopia’s new year, the Tigray leadership said they were ready to participate in an “immediate” cessation of hostilities with Ethiopian forces leading to a comprehensive ceasefire.

They also welcomed mediation led by the African Union, a significant shift.

But Ethiopia’s federal government is yet to publicly respond amid reports of more talks between the two sides in Djibouti. 

With human rights groups and monitors barred from Tigray, and with most basic services like internet severed, it is challenging to assess the situation on the ground.

READ MORE: Ethiopia's Tigray rebels say ready for African Union's peace talks

Several air strikes have hit Mekele since fighting resumed between Tigray forces and Ethiopian ones in late August, shattering a period of relative calm since late March.

That calm had allowed more humanitarian aid to reach the long-blockaded Tigray region, but those deliveries have now been halted, according to the United Nations. Deliveries to conflict-affected parts of the neighbouring Amhara region have also stopped.

Since the conflict broke out in November 2020, tens of thousands are believed to have been killed and millions displaced in the Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions. 

READ MORE: 'Air strike' rocks Mekelle city in Ethiopia's Tigray region

Source: AP