At the very least 13 civilians – together with two youngsters – have been killed and greater than 40 wounded in an assault on Azerbaijan’s second metropolis of Ganja that Baku stated was carried out by Armenia.
A missile assault levelled a row of properties on Saturday, killing and badly injuring individuals of their sleep in a pointy escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh battle.
Armenia denied it was behind the assault and in flip accused Azerbaijan of continued shelling on Stepanakert, the principle metropolis of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area.
The assault on Ganja marks a pointy escalation within the battle, with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev promising “revenge”.
In keeping with Hikmat Hajiyev, an assistant to the Azeri president, “greater than 20 homes have been destroyed” within the assault.
Mushfiq Jafarov, a member of parliament from Ganja, informed Al Jazeera that two youngsters are amongst these killed.
“There are solely civilians dwelling right here,” stated Jafarov.
The assault on Ganja, which has a inhabitants of greater than 300,000 individuals, got here solely six days after a missile struck one other residential a part of town, killing 10 civilians and leaving many on edge.
“Happily my household and I weren’t at dwelling,” Sevil Aliyeva, a resident from Ganja, informed Al Jazeera. “My home is destroyed.”
Rescue staff are digging by way of the rubble to search out survivors.
One man was buried beneath the particles for half-hour earlier than he was rescued. He stated he was very drained and wished this battle to finish quickly.
At across the identical time within the metropolis of Mingecevir, an hour’s drive north of Ganja, AFP information company reported the impression of an enormous blast that shook buildings.
Mingecevir is protected by a missile defence system as a result of it’s dwelling to a strategic dam, and it was not instantly clear if the missile was destroyed within the air or had made an impression.
The defence ministry stated Mingecevir had come “beneath fireplace”, however supplied no different speedy particulars.
An Azerbaijani official stated a second missile hit a separate, industrial district of Ganja at across the identical time.
Al Jazeera correspondent Sinem Koseoglu, reporting from Baku, stated Azerbaijan was attempting to run the diplomacy channels.
“We simply heard from the assistant to the president that he himself is delegating a gaggle of overseas diplomats and army attaches to go to Ganja to see the explosion website,” she stated.
Azeri officers stated the Scud missile was fired from the Armenian territory, which the Armenians have persistently denied.
“Based mostly on Armenia’s defence ministry spokesperson’s claims, Ganja is a army goal due to [the presence of] some army items, battalions and brigades and a few defence trade factories,” Koseoglu stated.
“Since October 4, Ganja has been focused by rockets and ballistic missiles. These land in residential areas and town centre, probably the most crowded dense residential areas.”
Hours after the shelling, the Azeri president stated the nation’s military would retaliate towards Armenia and “take revenge on the battlefield”.
Turkey, an in depth ally of Azerbaijan, condemned the assault and known as it a “struggle crime”.
“Armenia nonetheless commits struggle crimes and massacres civilians,” stated Turkish International Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in a tweet. “Silence towards this atrocity equals sharing duty of those murders.”
Armenian defence ministry denied the Azeri declare on shelling cities in Azerbaijan and accused Baku of constant to shell populated areas inside Nagorno-Karabakh, together with Stepanakert, the area’s greatest metropolis.
Three civilians have been wounded because of Azeri fireplace in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian overseas ministry stated.
“We awakened at 4am on account of an terrible blow, it was not only a strike, it was one thing extra highly effective … we’re scared, however we received used to it,” Lika Zakaryan, a 26-year-old resident of Stepanakert, informed Reuters information company.
“Typically we felt as in the event that they have been hitting instantly on us.”
Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith stated Armenia is now beneath intense stress, having misplaced management of some territory it has managed because the 1994 ceasefire to Azerbaijan.
“The overseas ministry of Armenia has launched a tweet and it says that constant makes an attempt by Azerbaijan to increase the geography of the battle, plus irreversibly undermining regional safety ought to be condemned within the strongest phrases,” Smith stated, talking from the Armenian city of Vorotan.
“Armenia is accusing Azerbaijan of taking this territory militarily slightly than the negotiations over which either side agreed to participate in.”
The preventing which started on September 27 is the worst within the area since Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces went to struggle within the Nineties over Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway Azeri area predominantly populated and ruled by ethnic Armenians.
Greater than 700 individuals, together with practically 80 civilians, have been killed within the battle thus far.
Further reporting by Seymur Kazimov in Ganja