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Ethiopian forces strike Tigray rebels in ‘massive’ move 2021

Ethiopian forces strike Tigray rebels in ‘massive’ move

Ethiopia forces strike Tigray rebels in ‘massive’ move

The Ethiopian army has launched coordinated attacks on all fronts against forces from the northern Tigray region,

The government was using artillery, tanks, jets and drones the rebels said.

The bombardments hit several areas of Amhara, humanitarian sources told AFP news agency, amid growing speculation of a major push by government forces against the Tigrayan rebels.

A senior rebel source said Tigray forces were holding their ground.

The Ethiopian government has not confirmed any fighting and a communications blackout makes independent verification impossible.

A senior member of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, ”Getachew Reda,” said the government offensive launched last week was now in “full swing”.

Asked if a ground offensive had been launched, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abi Ahmed’s spokeswoman Billene Seyoum,, said the government had a responsibility to protect its citizens across the country from acts of terrorism,, but did not give any further details.

There has been speculation that the fighting could pick up now that the rainy season is ending, and with mass mobilisation throughout the country and in Amhara in particular.

On Thursday, Amhara spokesperson Gizachew Muluneh tweeted, “In order to liberate our people who are suffering due to the terrorist TPLF, there might be irreversible operations in all fronts, at any time or hour.”

The Ethiopian army took control of most of Tigray in November 2020, after TPLF forces seized a military base.

Mr Getachew said the current offensive was taking place in towns in Amhara region, and also involved Amharan regional forces fighting alongside the army.

The Tigray forces’ statement says “hundreds of thousands of regular and irregular fighters” have been fielded in the current assault.

The TPLF, which used to dominate Ethiopia’s government, fell out with Mr Abi over a series of reforms he introduced since he became prime minister in 2018.

The government has since designated the TPLF group a terrorist organisation – a label which it rejects, saying it is the legitimate government of Tigray.