Eiger, the sole Drosophila TNF-alpha homolog, causes ectopic apoptosis through JNK pathway activation. Yet, its role in developmental apoptosis remains unclear. eiger mutant flies are viable and fertile but display compromised elimination of oncogenic cells and extracellular bacteria. Here we show that Eiger, specifically expressed in embryonic neurons and glia, is not involved in developmental neuronal apoptosis or in apoptotic cell clearance. Instead, we provide evidence that Eiger is required for damage-induced apoptosis in the embryonic CNS through regulation of the pro-apoptotic gene hid independently of the JNK pathway. Our study thus reveals a new requirement for Eiger in eliminating damaged cells during development.