Sheba's Wrath It was during the ceremony celebrating the submission of Ethiopian aristocrats to Rome and distribution of alms to the impoverished of Addis Ababa that two assassins - Abraham Deboch and Moges Asgedom - struck. In accordance with the plan drafted by Heruy Wolde Selassie, a total of 10 grenades were flung at Viceroy Rodolfo Graziani and the group accompanying him, a combination of Italian colonial officials and Ethiopian collaborators, who were unaware of the two Eritreans until it was too late. Shrapnel from the grenades' explosions turned the procession into chaos as Italians and Ethiopians alike bolted for safety as Graziani was torn into by approximately 365 fragments and would later bleed out while being rushed to the nearest medical facility. In the meantime, the Italian soldiers guarding Graziani wildly fired into the crowd and killed thousands, one Italian official going as far as to turn his revolver onto the aristocrats who had been observing the ceremony and order that Italian forces in Ethiopia be given a week to do carte blanche to the Ethiopian populace  to avenge Graziani. Using the chaos to their favor, Abraha and Moges fled the scene with the assistance of a sympathetic taxi driver with whose help they fled the city and eventually made contact with the units under Aberra Kassa, delivering reports of their success to the Regent, much to his grim satisfaction. In Addis Ababa, Italian settlers and soldiers rampaged across the city where they killed countless Ethiopians, burned their homes to the ground, claimed the houses of wealthier Ethiopians and generally wreaked havoc on the Ethiopian populace to the cries of "Duce! Duce!" and "Civilta Italiania!" that mixed with the cries of Ethiopians as they were struck down. This violence was soon extended to the rest of Ethiopia where Italian forces pillaged and killed Ethiopians indiscriminately in spite of Graziani's attempts at appealing to the allegedly downtrodden ethnic and religious groups, driving more Ethiopians into the hands of Imru's movement and bolstering the offensive he commanded. By the end of the week, around 50,000 people had been brutally murdered at the hands of the Italian troops and their Askari companions, having completed the task of avenging Graziani with tens of thousands of lives and ridding themselves of any potential cooperation from Ethiopia's people whilst also unintentionally expanding the ranks of the Patriots. The Italians were also joined by their puppets in the National Ethiopian Army and Royal Army of Oromia in carrying out their own atrocities, further betraying their own populations. It had led the Patriots to grow from a mere 40,000 men to an entire field army of 100,000 men across the occupied Empire. Graziani's assassination was followed by that of Hailu's during Yohannes Iyasu's attack on Gondar and Jifar narrowly avoided the same fate when Dejazmach Geresu Duki launched an all-out assault on Jimma. The only thing preventing the fall of these towns to Patriot control was the hasty relocation of Italian units from the southern front, the Italians bringing down their firepower on the advancing Patriot columns and forcing them back. The same thing was happening in Hararghe as Nasibu coordinated a series of attacks against the Italian garrisons in Dire Dawa and Harar, exploiting the anger of the nomadic Somalis at Italy's bombardment of several mosques in Harar and commanding them to support a rout. The Hararis themselves had been horrified at the looting, killing and destruction of their namesake city's mosques and upon Nasibu lending his support to help them, they happily accepted and rose up against their collaborating lords to drive out the Italian units occupying the city. This was at least successful as Nasibu's men marched into the heart of Harar and for a time, managed to hold onto the city and defend it against the repeated Italian attacks until the city was reduced nearly to rubble and eventually seized back by the Italians in late 1937 to early 1938. Geresu Duki observes his men march across the Omo River, March 1937. Harari volunteers on the outskirts of Harar, March-April 1937. The February Offensive proved to be a failure despite inflicting relatively heavy casualties on the Italian and satellite forces, even making some gains. It failed to achieve most of its strategic objectives as the Italians reoccupied the bigger cities, leaving those units that'd taken them mauled and ruthlessly subjugated the natives of those population centers. It did have the effect of improving moral amongst the soldiers under Imru's command and the general populace who'd almost resigned themselves to the Italian occupation after Ras Desta's army had been wiped out and Desta himself nearly captured  in Sidamo province. In fact, the successful assassinations and subsequent reprisals had inspired resistance to the Italian presence, many coming to believe that the Imperial government and armies hadn't abandoned them to Rome and many more joining the ranks of those same guerrillas operating under the central command of Imru's movement. Rome itself was shocked at the wave of assassinations that swept Italian-occupied Ethiopia and Mussolini was enraged at the death of the Butcher of Fezzan, replacing him with the more liberal Duke of Aosta, Prince Amedeo who set to work attempting to rectify the damages from the Patriots' attacks and in the pacification of the native Ethiopian populace. Under his tenure, there would be the release of hundreds of Ethiopian prisoners from the concentration camps in the Dahlak Archipelago and Somali coastline as well as the easing of the repression and the formulation of a new colonial policy toward the Ethiopian aristocracy in which they were to assist in the governance of the Italian East African colony. However, this was too little, too late - the Ethiopian population was overwhelmingly sympathetic toward Imru's Patriots and increasingly hostile to the Italian colonial administration who, despite Amedeo's overtures, had revealed their true colors after Yekatit 12. Not to mention, Rome had yet to figure out how to handle the Patriotic movement adequately, the pacification units in the Highlands coming back slaughtered while Imru oversaw the reorganization of his guerrilla armies and prepared them for the use of more unconventional means, having since shed the opinion that his men were capable of directly attacking the Italians without taking heavier casualties. More importantly, the failure of the February Offensive had done nothing for the degrading relationship between Imru and Haile Selassie, the former angered at the glaring issues of Heruy's theoretical plan and more so at the presence of Ethiopian soldiers in China since Japan's invasion in 1937. It would be the beginning of the end between the two royals, especially as it begun becoming clear that the Emperor was becoming completely subject to the whims of Tokyo and that the supposedly free Imperial Ethiopian Army was under the command of the Japanese officer corps that had come to power with Sadao Araki's insistence. Perhaps it was this that contributed the most to the emergence of Imru at the forefront of Ethiopia when it regained its independence in the midst of the Second World War. ----  The Italian official is Federal Secretary Guido Cortese and that bit about him firing his sidearm into the group of Ethiopian dignitaries is IOTL but the extension of the period of Yekatit 12 is an addition on my part for the successful assassination of the Viceroy. See Haile Selassie's War by Anthony Mockler for more.  ITTL, he's not captured and executed by the Italians, barely managing to escape and instead heading for the Ethiopian plateau to link up with Imru.