Rockets from Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region hit the capital of neighbouring Eritrea on Saturday, diplomats said, the latest indication that Ethiopia’s internal conflict is spreading beyond its borders.
“The reports we’re getting indicate that several of the rockets hit near the airport” in the Eritrean capital Asmara, one diplomat said.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, announced on 4 November he had ordered military operations in Tigray in a dramatic escalation of a long-running feud with the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
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 neighbouring Sudan.
The TPLF accuses Mr Abiy’s government of enlisting military support from Eritrea, something Ethiopia denies.
Earlier Saturday, Getachew Reda, a senior TPLF member, threatened retaliatory “missile attacks” on Asmara and the Eritrean port city of Massawa.
It was not immediately clear how many rockets were fired, where in Tigray they were fired from, whether they hit their targets or what damage they inflicted.
Radio Erena, a Paris-based diaspora station sympathetic to the Eritrean opposition, cited Asmara residents who reported “four explosions in total”.
Tigray has been under a communications blackout since the conflict began, and calls to Asmara were not going through Saturday.
There was no immediate response from Eritrea or the TPLF, which are bitter foes.
The TPLF dominated Ethiopian politics for nearly three decades and in that time fought a brutal 1998-2000 border war with Eritrea that left tens of thousands dead.
Mr Abiy came to power in 2018 and won the Nobel prize the following year in large part for his effort to initiate a rapprochement with Eritrea.