Eritrea 'rejects Ethiopia provocation'
Eritrea has said it will not be "entrapped" into retaliating after Ethiopia launched a cross-border border raid on three military bases.
"It is those who do not know the price of war who are hungry to go to war," Eritrean Information Minister Ali Abdu told the AFP news agency.
Ethiopia said it attacked three military bases where rebel groups were being trained.
The two countries fought a border war from 1998 to 2000.
The United States has called on both countries to "exercise restraint and to avoid any further military action".
The attack had raised fears that the bitter rivals could resume full-scale hostilities but Eritrea moved to quell such speculation.
"We fought enough for 30 years, and we will never be dragged into war through such hostile provocations as this," Mr Ali told AFP.
"The people and government of Eritrea shall not entertain, and will not be entrapped by, such deceitful ploys," a foreign ministry statement said.
It said the attack was mean to divert attention from Ethiopia's "illegal occupation" of Eritrean territory, as well as its internal problems.
Eritrea accuses Ethiopia of refusing to withdraw from the village of Badme, where the border war began, despite The Hague-based Boundary Commission 2002 ruling that it belonged to Eritrea.
A number of people were killed and others captured when three camps were attacked up to 18km (11 miles) inside Eritrean territory, an Ethiopian defence official said but further details have not been released.
In recent weeks Addis Ababa has accused Eritrea of backing Ethiopian rebels who staged a January raid in the northern Afar region that killed five Western tourists.
Two German nationals were taken hostage during that attack - there has been no official word of their condition since.
Ethiopian government spokesman Shimeles Kemal said the army units involved had returned to camp after "successfully completing" their mission.
He said Eritrea was harbouring "hit-and-run terrorists", and he warned of further possible operations.
"As long as Eritrea remains a launching pad for attacks against Ethiopia, similar measures will continue to be taken," he said.
Ethiopia is also engaged in military operations in neighbouring Somalia, where it is fighting the Islamist al-Shabab group.
Eritrea denies accusations that it backs al-Shabab.
Eritrea was annexed by Ethiopia in 1952 but gained independence in 1993 after a 30-year guerrilla war.
Below is the Eritrean government's response in Shabait.com :
Provocative Attacks by the TPLF Regime
Asmara, 16 March 2012 - As reported, with much bravado, by the news media of the TPLF regime, its armed forces yesterday “penetrated 18 km inside sovereign Eritrean territory to carry out an attack on Eritrean army outposts”. This is not surprising. Nor is it occurring the first time. However, it amplifies the extraordinary situation where the culprit “strikes but cries first” while all along pleading with its protectors to “disarm the victim”.
The timing of the provocative attack seems to have chosen to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the arbitral ruling of the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission. In this sense, it epitomizes the incessant acts of aggression that have and continue to be perpetrated against Eritrea for the last ten years by the TPLF regime with the encouragement of its backers. The objective of the attack, and its audacious publicity, is to divert attention from the central issue of the regime’s flagrant violation of international law and illegal occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories as well as from its myriad internal problems.
The quagmire the regime finds itself enmeshed in due to its reckless acts and wars of regional destabilisation and the failure of its attempts to subdue the Ethiopian people by fomenting ethnic strife and polarization are additional factors that are fueling its aggressive conduct. As we underlined at the time, the recent deplorable “killing and abduction of tourists” has also been misconstrued by the TPLF regime and its backers as a “blessing in disguise” to rationalize its unlawful acts.
The people and Government of Eritrea shall not entertain and will not be entrapped by such deceitful ploys that are aimed at derailing and eclipsing the underlying fundamental issues. This is well-known to the TPLF regime and its backers.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
16 March 2012