Missile Strike on Row of Homes Kills 12 and Injures More Than 40 as Fighting Between Armenia and Azerbaijan Escalates

Missile Strike on Row of Homes Kills 12 and Injures More Than 40 as Fighting Between Armenia and Azerbaijan Escalates

A missile strike has levelled a row of homes in Azerbaijan’s second city of Ganja on Saturday, killing 12 and injuring more than 40 people in their sleep in a sharp escalation of the conflict over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The early hours attack, which saw a second missile strike another part of Ganja and a third reach the nearby strategic city of Mingecevir, came hours after Azeri forces shelled the ethnic Armenian separatist region’s capital Stepanakert.

The seeming tit-fot-tat attacks further undermines international efforts to calm a resurgence of fighting between Armenians and Azeris before it further draws in regional powers Russia and Turkey.

Pictures from Ganja show bombed out houses with debris littered across the street and rescue workers searching through the rubble left by the strike.

Rows of houses were turned to rubble by the strike, which shattered the walls and ripped the roofs off buildings in the surrounding streets, a team from AFP news agency on the ground in Ganja reported.

People ran outside in shock and tears, stumbling through dark muddy alleys in their slippers, some wearing bathroom robes and pyjamas.

The attack came only six days after a missile struck another residential part of the city of more than 300,000 people, killing 10 civilians and leaving many on edge.

At the scene of the latest strike, exploding shells rumbled in the distance as rescuers and red helmets used sniffer dogs to search for signs on life.

‘We were sleeping. The kids were watching TV,’ Rubaba Zhafarova, 65, said in front of her destroyed home.

‘All the houses around here are destroyed. Many people are under the rubble. Some are dead, some are wounded.’

Hikmat Hajiyev, an assistant to Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, tweeted that according to ‘initial information, more than 20 houses were destroyed’ on Saturday.

Azerbaijan accuses Armenia of carrying out the attack.

In a statement released by the Armenian government, Nagorno-Karabakh’s military said it had ‘carried out equivalent operations to stop adversary fire’.

The military said it had done so after Azeri forces had stepped up their attacks on Friday across the front, shelling Stepanakert and the nearby town of Susi.

Azerbaijan accuses Armenia of carrying out the attack.

In a statement released by the Armenian government, Nagorno-Karabakh’s military said it had ‘carried out equivalent operations to stop adversary fire’.

The military said it had done so after Azeri forces had stepped up their attacks on Friday across the front, shelling Stepanakert and the nearby town of Susi.

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Source: Daily Mail