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– BBC

The United States, Ireland and Britain have called for an emergency UN Security Council public meeting over the conflict-hit northern Tigray region, the AFP news agency reports.

The meeting could be held as soon as Friday, diplomatic sources told the agency.

This came as rebel forces in Tigray reportedly retook the regional capital, Mekelle, nearly eight months after they were ousted by Ethiopian government troops.

Residents in Mekelle have described scenes of jubilation, with thousands of people taking to the streets on Monday night, waving flags and setting off fireworks.

Residents told the BBC that the forces had taken control of the streets and the airport. They also said they saw the Ethiopian military leaving the city during the day.

The Ethiopian government has not confirmed the loss of Mekelle, but has declared a unilateral ceasefire.

The UN Secretary- General Antonio Guterres, said he had spoken to the Ethiopian prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, and was hopeful that a cessation of hostilities would take place.

The conflict has pushed Tigray into a deep humanitarian crisis, with hundreds of thousands of people on the brink of famine.

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