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Ethiopian refugees who have fled the Tigray conflict, fill bottles and containers with water after arriving to Hamdayit. Photo: ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP via Getty Images

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.

Go deeper

46 mins ago - World

Pope Francis denounces European governments' migrant response

Pope Francis adresses refugees at the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos on Sunday. Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis criticized European countries' response to migrants and asylum seekers during his visit to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos Sunday.

Why it matters: The pope said "migration is a humanitarian crisis that concerns everyone," but little had changed in the global response to displaced peoples since his first visit to Lesbos five years ago, per a transcript of his remarks. "Human lives, real people, are at stake. ... let us stop this shipwreck of civilization!"

Chris Cuomo accuser: On-air "hypocrisy" spurred report

Journalist Chris Cuomo. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

A woman who accused fired CNN journalist Chris Cuomo of sexual misconduct said Sunday she decided to come forward after learning of his comments about women who made similar accusations about his brother. He denies her allegations.

Why it matters: Her attorney Debra Katz said in a statement that she heard "the hypocrisy" of his on-air words about his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was "disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women," so "retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN."

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.