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Ehiopian National Defense Forces soldiers train in the field of Dabat, Ethiopia, in September. Photo: Amanuel Sileshi/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. special envoy Jeffrey Feltman headed to Ethiopia as yearlong fighting between government forces and opposition fighters intensified Thursday, per AP.

Details: The U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia said Wednesday it has "authorized the voluntary departure" of non-emergency government employees and family members due to the conflict. Rebels from the northern region of Tigray were making advances toward the capital Addis Ababa on Thursday, Reuters reports.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
  • A spokesperson for Tigrayan forces told Reuters after they reached the town of Kemise, some 200 miles from Addis Ababa, that they "don't intend to shoot at civilians and we don't want bloodshed" in their push to take the capital.

Meanwhile, Facebook removed a post from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's page over the weekend for violating its policies on inciting violence.

The big picture: The war in Africa's second-most populous country has killed thousands of citizens.

Go deeper

Nov 24, 2021 - Podcasts

Escalating war in Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed — a Nobel Peace Prize-winning politician — has said he’ll lead troops who are fighting rebels from the Tigray region of the country in what he’s calling "the final fight" to save Ethopia. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is warning of a potential humanitarian crisis there that could destabilize the entire region.

  • Plus, the rise of vegan Thanksgiving.
  • And, the story of the first Thanksgiving - 1200 miles south of Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Guests: Axios' Zach Basu, Ben Montgomery and Russell Contreras.

Credits: Axios Today is produced in partnership with Pushkin Industries. The team includes Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Julia Redpath, Alexandra Botti, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Alex Sugiura, Sabeena Singhani, Lydia McMullen-Laird, David Toledo and Jayk Cherry. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at podcasts@axios.com. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

Go deeper:

Storms pummel flood-hit Pacific Northwest as border river overflows

An image of the water-logged Sumas Prairie area taken last Friday. Photo: B.C. Ministry of Transportation/Twitter.

The latest ferocious storm system to hit the Pacific Northwest triggered fresh evacuation orders and at least one mudslide in flood-ravaged British Columbia, Canada, late Sunday.

Threat level: Flood sirens sounded in Washington state as the Nooksack River overflowed. Henry Braun, mayor of Abbotsford, B.C., told reporters the water flow was headed toward the Canadian border city later Sunday. "There's nothing to stop it," he said.

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.