Ethiopia Declares War on Somalia!

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi a personal friend of Jimmy Carter and a man accused of stealing last year’s election and jailing opposition leaders declared that Ethiopia is at war with the Islamic movement in Somalia after sending in warplanes on a bombing campaign today.

The BBC has an audio report from the region, via Ethiomedia.

Timkat Festival, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Nearly 40% of Ethiopians are Ethiopian Orthodox.

The AP reported just minutes ago:

MOGADISHU, Somalia – Ethiopia sent fighter jets into Somalia and bombed several towns Sunday in a dramatic attack on Somalia’s powerful Islamic movement, and Ethiopia’s prime minister said his country had been “forced to enter a war.”

It was the first time Ethiopia acknowledged its troops were fighting in support of Somalia’s U.N.-backed interim government even though witnesses had been reporting their presence for weeks in an escalating battle that threatens to engulf the Horn of Africa region.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi went on television to announce that his country was at war with the Islamic movement that wants to rule neighboring Somalia by the Quran.

“Our defense force has been forced to enter a war to defend (against) the attacks from extremists and anti-Ethiopian forces and to protect the sovereignty of the land,” Meles said a few hours after his military attacked the Islamic militia with fighter jets and artillery.

No reliable casualty reports were immediately available.

Ethiopia, a largely Christian nation, supports Somalia’s interim government, which has been losing ground to the Council of Islamic Courts for months.

“They are cowards,” said Sheik Mohamoud Ibrahim Suley, an official with the Islamic movement, which controls most of southern Somalia. “They are afraid of the face-to-face war and resorted to airstrikes. I hope God will help us shoot down their planes.”

The Washington Post reported earlier this week that many of the citizens in Ethiopia believe that “Meles is using the conflict to distract people from a vast array of internal problems and to justify further repression of opposition groups, including ethnic Somalis in Ethiopia.”

Ethiopian Review has this:

Somali Islamic Courts Union (ICU) claims that it has shot down a Woyanne military helicopter today. The ICU militia also said today that they destroyed four thanks at Daynunay front near Baidoa city.

Dan Riehl and Powerline are following the developments.

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