Ethiopian military takes "full control" of Tigray capital
Ethiopia’s military took “full control” of the capital of the Tigray region on Saturday, the army announced — a major development following more than three weeks of unrest in the area, AP reports.
Driving the news: Ethiopia's military launched an assault in the Tigray region earlier on Saturday following a collapse of diplomatic negotiations and in an effort to arrest the region's rebelling leaders, according to local media and regional government officials.
- The offensive in Mekele, a city with a population of about 500,000, came after a 72-hour ultimatum issued by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for rebel leaders to surrender expired.
The big picture: Abiy announced a military offensive in response to a Tigray People’s Liberation Front attack on a military base on Nov. 4.
- The TPLF calls that attack a pre-emptive strike.
- Thousands of people are believed to have died and more than 40,000 refugees fled to Sudan, AP reported.
What they're saying: “God bless Ethiopia and its people!” Abiy said in a statement Saturday.
- "We have entered Mekele without innocent civilians being targets," he added.
- He later tweeted, "Our focus now will be on rebuilding the region and providing humanitarian assistance while Federal Police apprehend the TPLF clique."
Of note via the Washington Post: "Claims from both sides have been impossible to verify during the conflict because communications have been down and access to Mekele remains strictly controlled."
Go deeper: Ethiopia clashes raise risk of civil war
Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.