The ruling party of Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region fired rockets on the capital of neighboring Amhara Friday, an official said, heightening fears the internal conflict could spread to other parts of the country.
An AFP journalist heard two explosions in the city at around 1:40 am, followed by several minutes of gunfire.
A regional communications official, Gizachew Muluneh, said the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) fired three rockets but that they resulted in neither casualties nor damage.
Two rockets struck near the airport while the third hit a maize field, he said.
“My suspicion is they were targeting the Amhara Mass Media Agency, the airport, and a telecommunications tower that is nearby,” Gizachew said.
Authorities barred journalists from visiting the sites where the rockets landed.
The Amhara Mass Media Agency, a state broadcaster, blamed the attack on the “illegal TPLF junta.” There was no immediate reaction from the TPLF.
The TPLF has already claimed rocket attacks on airports in the Amhara region, in Bahir Dar and Gondar, as well as at the capital of neighboring Eritrea, both around a week ago.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, announced November 4 he had ordered military operations in Tigray in a dramatic escalation of a long-running feud with TPLF, the northern region’s ruling party.
Hundreds of people are reported to have been killed in the conflict in Africa’s second-most populous country, some in a gruesome massacre documented by Amnesty International.
Thousands have fled fighting and air strikes in Tigray, crossing to neighboring Sudan.