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According to local broadcasters, an Ethiopian air strike hit an asylum in the besieged region of Tigray, killing and injuring on Friday. It was the latest escalation of a conflict that created a humanitarian crisis for millions of people.

Tigray Television quoted witnesses as saying the afternoon attack hit a kindergarten called Red Kids Paradise in the Tigray capital of Mekele. It aired graphic images of children and adults with dismembered bodies in the aftermath of the attack.

Homes near the kindergarten were also affected by the strike, TV station Dimtsi Weyane reported.

Tigrano officials called the airstrike “a ruthless and sadistic assault”.

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Ethiopian government soldiers travel in the back of a truck on a road near Agula, north of Mekele, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia on May 8, 2021.

“This vicious regime has outdone itself with today’s deliberate attack on a children’s building,” they said in a statement.

That statement doesn’t say how many people were killed in the air strike. But Mekele’s Ayder hospital director Kibrom Gebreselassie said on Twitter that two children are among at least four people killed.

“More victims are coming. The total number so far in our hospital is 13,” he said.

The AP was unable to independently verify the footage. Ethiopian authorities did not immediately comment on the report.

But the Ethiopian government’s communications service said Friday in a statement that the government “will act by targeting the military forces that are the source of the anti-peace sentiment of the People’s Liberation Front of Tigray.”

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The Ethiopian government on Thursday 18 August 2022 criticizes how "unethical" the statement by the director general of the World Health Organization that the crisis in the Tigray region of the country is "the worst disaster on Earth" and his claim that the lack of attention from global leaders may be due to the color of the Tigrinis' skin.

The Ethiopian government on Thursday 18 August 2022 criticized as “unethical” the statement by the director general of the World Health Organization that the crisis in the country’s Tigray region is “the worst disaster on Earth” and its claim that the lack of attention from global leaders may be due to the skin color of the Tigranes.

He warned people in Tigray to stay away from military equipment and training facilities used by Tigray forces.

News of a strike in a kindergarten comes amid the resumption of fighting between Ethiopian federal forces and Tigray fighters. Both sides accused each other of resuming the war on Wednesday after a lull in fighting since June 2021.

The conflict in Tigray, which began in November 2020, has killed thousands of people in Africa’s second most populous country, which is home to over 115 million people. The conflict had calmed down in recent months due to slow mediation efforts. But Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s spokesperson last week told reporters that the Tigray authorities “refused to accept peace talks.”

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An Ethiopian woman discusses with other people the allocation of yellow peas after they were distributed by the Tigray Relief Society in the town of Agula, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia on May 8, 2021.

An Ethiopian woman discusses with other people the allocation of yellow peas after they were distributed by the Tigray Relief Society in the town of Agula, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia on May 8, 2021.

The Ethiopian government has said it is ready for talks, but insists that the African Union must lead the mediation efforts.

The Tigray authorities have criticized the efforts of the African Union and urgently called for the resumption of telephone, banking and other services that have been largely disrupted since the start of the war. The statement by the Tigrinya authorities after the airstrike on Friday accused the federal government of not being interested in the peace talks.

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The conflict has created a humanitarian crisis for millions of people affected by fighting in the Amhara and neighboring Afar regions, while thousands of Tigers now live in refugee camps in Sudan.

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