According to diplomats, three rockets were fired from the Ethiopian region of Tigray, two of which reached Asmara Airport.

At least three rockets fired from the Tigray region of Ethiopia have hit the capital of neighboring Eritrea, five regional diplomats said. This was a significant escalation of a conflict between Ethiopian government forces and rebel local forces in the northern Tigray region.

At least two of the missiles hit Asmara Airport on Saturday evening, three diplomats said. With most of the communications unavailable in Tigray and Eritrea, the attacks could not be independently verified. Officials on both sides could not be reached.

Tigray’s leader Debretsion Gebremichael said Tuesday that Eritrea had sent troops across the border in support of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government but had not presented any evidence.

Eritrea’s Foreign Minister Osman Saleh Mohammed denied this at the time and told the Reuters news agency: “We are not part of the conflict”.

Eritrea and Ethiopia signed a peace agreement two years ago, but President Isaias Afwerki’s government in Asmara remains hostile to the Tigray leadership after its role in a devastating war between 1998 and 2000.

On Saturday before, Tigray’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), threatened to attack Eritrean targets.

“We are going to launch a rocket attack to thwart any military movement in Asmara and Massawa,” party spokesman Getachew Reda told a local television station. Massawa is an Eritrean port on the Red Sea.

Abiy launched a military campaign against Tigray’s leaders last week after accusing them of attacking federal forces in the northern region on the Eritrea-Sudan border.

The fighting has killed hundreds of people on both sides, thousands of civilians fled to Sudan, and fears that they could destabilize other parts of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa region.

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