The Ethiopian military will begin the final phase of an offensive in the rebellious northern Tigray region, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has said in a statement, hours after an ultimatum for Tigray forces to surrender expired.
The 72-hour period granted to the criminal TPLF clique to surrender peacefully is now over and our law enforcement campaign has reached its final stage, he tweeted on Thursday, referring to the Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF).
Abiy said the Tigrayan civilians would be spared and asked the residents to stay indoors, the Associated Press said. He also claimed that thousands of fighters had already surrendered.
The Reuters news agency said it was not immediately able to reach the Tigrayan forces for comment.
Claims by all sides have been impossible to verify because phone and internet connections to the region are down and access to the area is tightly controlled.
More details soon.

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