A regional government in Ethiopia fired rockets at two airports in a neighboring state amid a deadly conflict that appears to be growing.
Two airports in Ethiopia’s Amhara state were targeted in the strikes late Friday. One, the Gondar airport, was hit and sustained damage. The second rocket missed its target, the Bahir Dar airport, but there was some damage.
Hundreds of people have been killed and well over 17,000 refugees have fled into neighboring Sudan since Ethiopian troops began fighting local forces in the northern Tigray region 11 days ago.
The conflict is the result of a months-long falling out amid dramatic shifts in power after Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office two years ago.
The Tigray regional government, which once dominated the country’s ruling coalition, broke away last year and the federal government now says its ruling “clique” must be arrested and their well-stocked arsenal destroyed.
Ahmed said government warplanes were bombing military targets in Tigray, including arms depots and equipment controlled by the Tigrayan forces. The government says its military operations are aimed at restoring the rule of law in the mountainous state of 5 million people.
The ruling Tigray party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, said the missile strikes were in retaliation for the air strikes by the government forces.
“As long as the attacks on the people of Tigray do not stop, the attacks will intensify,” Getachew Reda, a spokesperson for the party, said in a statement Facebook that described Ahmed as a “fascist terrorist and invader.”
The conflict is raising fears of ethnic targeting. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front denied allegations that scores or even hundreds of civilians were “hacked to death” Monday in the regional town of Mai-Kadra, but the massacre was confirmed by Amnesty International.
With Post wires