“Fighting is still continuing on several fronts” in Ethiopia, Debretsion Gebremichael told Reuters in a text message.
Five regional diplomats told Reuters shortly after the attack that at least three rockets were fired at Eritrea’s capital from Ethiopia on Saturday night. At least two of the rockets hit Asmara airport, three of the diplomats said.
His government says the Ethiopian military has been carrying out air strikes in an attempt to destroy equipment including arms depots controlled by the insurgents.
“Thanks to the exception valor and commitment its [sic] sons and daughters, Ethiopia is more than capable of attaining the objectives of the operation by itself,” he added.
The Tigrayan leader Debretsion, communicating by text message, also said that his forces have been fighting “16 divisions” of the Eritrean army “on several fronts” for the past few days. He did not give an estimate for how many troops he believes Eritrea has deployed. Eritrea has a vast standing army which the United States’ CIA puts at 200,000 personnel.
He said Eritrean forces have crossed into Ethiopia at Badme, Rama and Zalambessa, three border towns in the restive northern region.
“Our country is attacking us with a foreign country, Eritrea. Treason!” he told Reuters in a text message.
There was no immediate comment from the Ethiopian government on Debretsion’s claim of the strikes on Eritrea or other comments.
Eritrea’s government has denied involvement in the conflict. Officials in Asmara were not immediately reachable after the strikes.
Debretsion said on Tuesday that Eritrea had sent troops over the border in support of Abiy’s government, but provided no evidence. Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh Mohammed denied this at the time, telling Reuters: “We are not part of the conflict.”
At about 7.50 p.m. local time on Saturday, a series of loud noises were heard in Asmara, said the United States’ embassy in Eritrea.
Since the violence began on November 4, more than 14,500 refugees have fled Ethiopia into Sudan, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Services for 96,000 Eritrean refugees inside Tigray have been disrupted and there are reports of growing numbers of Ethiopians becoming displaced internally, the UN added.