Ethiopia forces, Tigrayan rebels battle over key town

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Ethiopian forces and Tigrayan rebels fought a pitched battle for control of Kombolcha on Monday, terrified residents reported, after the rebels claimed to have taken over their second town in two days.

Reports of rebels capturing Kombolcha came a day after they claimed control of Dessie and if confirmed, it would mark a major advance by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the nearly year-long war.

Much of northern Ethiopia is under a communications blackout and access for journalists is restricted, making battlefield claims difficult to independently verify.

Kombolcha residents described non-stop gunfire overnight and into the early hours on Monday, with some saying they heard what appeared to be an airstrike on the town’s outskirts around midnight. —AFP

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