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Missile Attack Kills 12 People In Azerbaijan

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A missile strike in the Azerbaijani city of Ganja destroyed several houses, killing 12 people and injuring more than 40.

The bomber struck shortly afternoon in front of police recruiting centre in the northern city of Mingachevir, according to AFP.

The attacks appear to have undermined international efforts to reduce tensions between Christian-majority Armenia and Muslim-majority Azerbaijan since regional powers Russia and Turkey joined the fight.

In Ganja, an AFP team saw the attack turn several houses into rubble and collapsed roofs in nearby streets.

The attack came just six days after an attack on another residential part of the city killed 10 civilians and injured several others.

At the scene of the latest attack, rescue volunteers were using search dogs to search for survivors.

“We were sleeping, the children were watching TV,” said Rababa Zafrov, 65, standing outside her destroyed house.

“All the houses here have been destroyed, many people are buried under the rubble, some have been killed and some have been injured,” he said.

“According to preliminary information, 20 houses have been destroyed,” Hikmet Hajiyev, Azerbaijan’s aide to the president, said in a statement on the social networking site Twitter.

The Nagorno-Karabakh army said Azerbaijani forces had stepped up their attacks on Friday, shelling Stephen Kurt and the nearby town of Susi.

A statement from the Armenian government said, “The separatists have taken equal action to stop this fire.”

Rescue workers are removing passports, keys, rings and other items from the wreckage, calling for silence from time to time so they can hear the voices of survivors.

They called the search dogs and sprayed water from the fire brigade vehicles to settle the flying dust.

“A woman’s legs are gone and no one has a hand,” said Elmer Sheeranzada, 26, in a state of shock.

Rescue workers are struggling to pick up heavy debris in search of signs of life and from time to time try to calm the distressed victims.

When the paramedics were taking a man to the ambulance, he was constantly saying, ‘My wife was there, my wife was there.’

At the same time, a huge explosion was heard in the city of Mingachevir, an hour north of the Ganja, which shook buildings.

Magister is protected by a defence system as there is a strategic dam, but it was not immediately clear whether the missile crashed in mid-air or crashed somewhere.

The Defense Ministry said Mingachevir was “under fire” but did not immediately provide further details.

At the same time, another missile hit a separate industrial district of Ganja, an Azerbaijani official said.

No immediate details were released about the attack.

Azri President condemned the attack and said, “The fascist leadership of Armenia committed another war crime and fired on the cities of Ganja and Mingachevir with operational missile systems. They will be held accountable for this crime. Our revenge is on the battlefield.”

Decades-old Conflict

The decades-long Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has resumed and so far about 700 people, including 80 civilians, have been killed.

It should be noted that Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but since the end of the war between the two countries in 1994, it has been governed by locals of Armenian descent.

About 30,000 people were killed in the war.

Armenia, which backs Nagorno-Karabakh but does not recognize its independence, has acknowledged that Azerbaijani forces made significant gains on the border last week.

On Friday, an AFP team was taken by Azerbaijani troops to a recaptured settlement in the southern part of the disputed area near the Iranian border.

Azerbaijani officials say they last gained control of Gabriel after the Soviet war. The current tensions are the deadliest and longest since the six-year conflict.


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