Ethiopian military says only combatants hit in Tigray air strike

Ethiopian refugees fleeing from the ongoing fighting in Tigray region, queue for water, at the Fashaga camp, on the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in Kassala state, Sudan

Only combatants, not civilians, were struck in an air strike this week in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, the country’s military spokesman told Reuters on Thursday.

Ethiopian military spokesman Colonel Getnet Adane told Reuters in an interview in Addis Ababa that the combatants in the town of Togoga were dressed in civilian clothes.

An air strike killed at least 43 people in the town on Tuesday, a medical official told Reuters, after residents said new fighting had flared in recent days north of the regional capital Mekelle.

A resident of the town told Reuters on Wednesday that the air strike a day earlier had hit a market in the town at around 1 p.m.

The military spokesman said the combatants were not inside the market. He said he did not have the death toll from the strike but that it would come soon.

The remarks were the first acknowledgement by the military of the air strike, which came after residents said new fighting had flared in recent days north of Tigray’s regional capital Mekelle.

On Wednesday, Getnet, the military spokesman, did not confirm or deny the incident. He said air strikes were a common military tactic and that government forces do not target civilians.

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