Aid worker killed in air strike in Ethiopia's Tigray region, IRC says


NAIROBI (Reuters) - An aid worker was among three people killed during an air strike on the town of Shire in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region, the International Rescue Committee said on Saturday.

The aid worker, who worked for IRC's health and nutrition team, died of injuries sustained while delivering assistance to women and children on Friday, IRC said in a statement.

Another IRC staff member was injured in the attack, while two other civilians were killed and three wounded, the statement said.

The attack took place in a region where the Ethiopian government and its Eritrean allies have been battling Tigray forces on and off for two years.

Ethiopian government spokesperson Legesse Tulu, military spokesperson Colonel Getnet Adane and the prime minister's spokesperson Billene Seyoum did not immediately respond to requests for comment about Friday's incident.

Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel and Getachew Reda, a spokesman for the Tigray forces, also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Aid workers say scores of people have been killed in air strikes in Tigray since fighting resumed in August following a five-month ceasefire, including one on Oct. 5 that killed more than 50 when it hit a school sheltering displaced people.

Around 470,000 people have been displaced in the fighting, according to an internal UN bulletin dated Oct. 10.

African Union-led peace talks proposed for earlier this month were delayed for logistical reasons.

Each sides blames the other for starting the conflict.

The federal government accuses the Tigray People's Liberation Front, Tigray's leading political party which dominated Ethiopia's ruling coalition until 2018, of trying to reassert control over the Horn of Africa country.

Tigray leaders accuse Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of over-centralising power and oppressing Tigrayans. Both dismiss each other's accusations.

(Reporting by Nairobi Newsroom; Writing by Hereward Holland; Editing by Ros Russell)

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