The leader of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) Debretsion Gebremichael also told Reuters in a text message on Saturday Mekelle was under “heavy bombardment.”
A communications blackout in the region has made reporting on claims from both sides difficult.
International leaders have repeatedly expressed grave concern for the disruption of humanitarian access and for violence against civilians during fighting in Mekelle. About half a million residents live in Mekelle, half of whom are children, according to UNICEF.
“I urge Ethiopian leaders to do everything possible to protect civilians, uphold human rights and ensure humanitarian access,” UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres tweeted on Wednesday.
CNN’s Nima Elbagir reported from London, Bethlehem Feleke reported from Nairobi and Awad Ismael and Salah Nasir reported from the Sudan-Ethiopia border.
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