BAKU: Twelve civilians have been killed and more than 40 people injured in an early-hours missile attack on Azerbaijan’s second-biggest city, Ganja, Azerbaijani officials have said, in a sharp escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
A missile raid levelIed a row of homes in Azerbaijan’s second city of Ganja, killing and badly injuring people in their sleep.
The Armenian defence ministry denied the claim and accused Baku of continuing to shell populated areas inside Nagorno-Karabakh, including Stepanakert, the region’s biggest city.
“Civilians are continued to be saved from the debris of destruction by emergency services,” Hikmet Hajiyev, assistant to the Azerbaijani president, said on Twitter.
“Treacherous and cruel missile attack of Armenia against civilians in Ganja is sign of weakness and desperation of Armenia’s political-military leadership in the face of its defeat on battleground,” Hajiyev said, adding it is a “deliberate and indiscriminate missile attack against civilians.”
“Two kids are among the dead. Emergency works are still going on. Armenia’s terror and War Crimes continue,” Hajiyev said earlier on Twitter.
According to Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA), missiles fired at Ganja were initially identified as SCUD/Elbrus Operative-Tactical Ballistic Missile.
“Fragments from the impact zone prove it. Targeting SCUD missile against densely populated civilians shows complete immorality and schizophrenic mindset of Armenia’s pol-mil leaders,” Hajiyev said.
“Innocent civilians in the second biggest city of Azerbaijan are under the indiscriminate and targeted missile attack of Armenia,” he said earlier.
“Unscrupulous calls for humanitarian ceasefire should see these war crimes of Armenia,” he said.