We are going to use tanks and artillery to seize town of Mekelle By Reuters

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© Reuters. The Sudanese military officer watches as Ethiopians who fled the war in the Tigray region gather to receive aid from the World Food Program at the Fashaga camp on the Sudanese-Ethiopian border in Al-Qadarif state

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ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – The Ethiopian military plans to encircle Mekelle, the capital of the northern Tigray region, with tanks and warns civilians it may also use artillery in the city, state media reported on Sunday.

“The next phases are the crucial part of the operation, which consists of circling Mekelle in tanks, ending the battle in the mountain areas and advancing into the fields,” military spokesman Colonel Dejene Tsegaye told the state-run Ethiopia Broadcasting Corporation.

The conflict broke out on November 4 after the government described a surprise attack on federal troops by forces of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the political party that controls Tigray.

Information about the fighting is extremely sketchy and claims by all sides are difficult to verify as telephone and internet communications with the region have been disrupted since the conflict began.

Both sides say federal forces have captured Adigrat, 116 kilometers north of Mekelle.

Dejene said civilians in Mekelle, which has half a million inhabitants, should be aware of the danger.

“So far we have only attacked targets where the junta fighters were stationed, but in the case of Mekelle it could be different,” he said, referring to the TPLF.

“We would like to send a message to the public in Mekelle to save themselves from artillery attacks and free themselves from the junta. The junta is now protecting itself in public and the public must isolate itself from the junta. “

“After that there will be no more mercy.”

TPLF forces were not immediately available for comment.

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