Blast near government ministry injures several people
The blast on a road between the Hilton hotel and the foreign ministry was the latest in a string of explosions in Addis Ababa that Ethiopia has blamed on extremists backed by its neighbor and rival Eritrea.
Scores of policemen and soldiers rushed to the scene, cordoning off the area as fire engines arrived.
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s government routinely refers to the Eritrean government, with whom it fought a 1998-2000 border war, as terrorists.
Eritrea routinely denies the allegations, saying Meles faces an array of internal opponents.
A taxi driver who asked not to be named said he saw rescuers pulling out several dead people.
“I saw maybe 3 or 4 bodies taken away,” the driver said.
Last month, Ethiopia blamed rebels backed by Eritrea when two bombs at petrol stations killed three people and wounded more than a dozen in the capital.
Eritrea and Ethiopia often trade accusations over their border dispute, in which some 70,000 died.
The two countries have been deadlocked over their 1,000 km (620-mile) frontier since a 2002 border ruling and analysts fear even small incidents could trigger renewed hostilities.
Earlier this year Eritrea obliged a U.N. peacekeeping force to quit the disputed border and on May 1 called on the Security Council to wind up the mission altogether.
The 1,700-strong force, known as UNMEE, had patrolled the border since 2000. It pulled out in February, saying Eritrea had cut off fuel supplies, and that most of its troops have returned to their countries of origin.