Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says there have been airstrikes on military targets in Tigray state, whose leaders have fallen out with the national government.
But there has been no confirmation that the targets have been hit. Tigray’s governing party said on Thursday that there had been airstrikes but a senior official told the BBC that nothing had happened on Friday.
Some fear this could be the start of a civil war. Long-standing tension between Ethiopia’s federal government and Tigray, the country’s northernmost state, boiled over into clashes this week
The head of the United Nations has called for an “immediate de-escalation of fighting”.
What did the prime minister say?
Speaking on the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation, Mr Abiy said airstrikes had happened on Thursday and Friday and would continue.
He said missiles, radar equipment and rockets had been destroyed, adding that the rockets had a range of 300km (186 miles)
Earlier, speaking on state television in Tigrinya, the language of the Tigray region, the prime minister said that “these air strikes aren’t aimed at civilians but rather at targets stored by this dangerous group”.
He was referring to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which governs the state, and the weapons that it allegedly holds.
But officials in Tigray have denied to the BBC that an air attack took place on Friday.
In a statement earlier on Friday, Mr Abiy insisted that the military operation in Tigray had “clear, limited and achievable objectives”.
Tigrayan leader Debretsion Gebremichael previously accused Mr Abiy’s administration of plotting to invade the state.