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Final Offensive: Ethiopian Government Forces Captured Tigray’s Capital (Updated)

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UPDATED: The commander of the Ethiopian National Defense Force, General Berhanu Julah, confirmed that the Ethiopian army captured the city of Makelle, the capital of the Tigray region.

Final Offensive: Ethiopian Government Forces Captured Tigray's Capital (Updated)

General Berhanu Julah

On November 28, the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) began an offensive to capture Makelle, the capital of the northern region of Tigray, according to a number of sources.

Debretsion Gebremichael, leader of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), told Reuters in a text message that the city, where 500,000 people live, was under “heavy bombardment”. No human losses have been reported, thus far.

Sources in the ENDF confirmed to al-Jazeera that the offensive on Makelle city began, without providing any additional information.

Final Offensive: Ethiopian Government Forces Captured Tigray's Capital (Updated)

Click to see full-size map.

A day earlier, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced that the ENDF had launched the “final phase” of their operation in Tigray.

The defense forces of Ethiopia reportedly captured several 122-mm rockets for the BM-21 Grad MLRS from the Tigray People’s liberation front. The rockets were reportedly kept at St. Michael’s Church in the Paradise area.

Final Offensive: Ethiopian Government Forces Captured Tigray's Capital (Updated)

Click to see full-size image

Final Offensive: Ethiopian Government Forces Captured Tigray's Capital (Updated)

Click to see full-size image

On November 22, Abiy gave the TPLF 72 hours to surrender or the ENDF would launch an attack on Makelle. Tigray fighters rejected the ultimatum.

Billene Seyoum, a spokeswoman for the PM office, said the ENDF would not “bombard” civilian areas in Makelle, adding that the safety of Ethiopians in the city and Tigray region is a “priority” for the federal government.

The operation in Tigray began on November 4 in response to a large-scale attack by the TPLF on military positions of the ENDF in the region.

The conflict has thus far claimed the lives of more than 600 civilians. Thousands others fled the fighting in the region. A political settlement appears to be off the table as both sides are still determined to continue fighting.

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