The leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigre (TPLF), Debretsion Gebremichael, also told Reuters in a text message on Saturday that Mekelle was under “heavy bombing”.
Interruption of communications in the region made it difficult to report claims from both sides.
International leaders have repeatedly expressed serious concern about the disruption of humanitarian access and the violence against civilians during the fighting in Mekel. About half a million people live in Mekel, half of whom are children, according to UNICEF.
“I call on Ethiopian leaders to do everything possible to protect the civilian population, uphold human rights and ensure humanitarian access,”
Nima Elbagir of CNN reports from London, Bethlehem Feleke of Nairobi, and Avad Ismail and Salah Nasir of the Sudan-Ethiopia border.