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Ethiopia strikes ‘weapons site’ in capital of northern Tigray region

New air strikes have hit the capital of Ethiopia’s Tigray region and another community, as a video from Mekelle showed wounded people with bloodied faces being rushed to vehicles and thick black smoke rising in the sky.

Ethiopia’s government said it targeted facilities to make and repair weapons, which a spokesman for the rival Tigray forces denied on Wednesday.

“Indeed there have been air strikes in Mekelle today,” Ethiopian government spokesman Legesse Tulu told the AP news agency, saying they targeted facilities at the Mesfin Industrial Engineering site that Tigray forces use to make and repair heavy weapons.

Legesse said the air strikes had “no intended harm to civilians.”

At least 14 people were wounded in the air strikes in Mekelle and three were in critical condition, Hayelom Kebede, the former director of Tigray’s flagship Ayder Referral Hospital, told the AP.

Second strike 

Another air strike hours later hit Agbe between the communities of Hagere Selam and Tembien, Legesse said, describing the site as a “centre of military training and heavy artillery depot.”

A Tigray spokesman denied the Mekelle site was related to weapons. “Not at all,” Kindeya Gebrehiwot told the AP, calling it a garage “with many old tires. That is why it is still blazing.”

Amit Abrha, who said she was a worker at the site, said she didn’t hear the air strike coming and collapsed when the attack occurred.

“People picked me up. And when the explosions continued, I went out and saw a person that I know injured and on the ground,” she said in video footage obtained by the AP, as the smoke billowed behind her and fellow residents tried to control the flames.

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