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The Armenian Armed Forces have launched missile attacks on Azerbaijan’s northeastern city of Ganja killing a civilian and injuring four others in the eighth day of the heavy clashes over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
“One civilian killed and four injured as the result of the missile strike by the Armenian army on dense residential areas of Ganja, the second largest city of Azerbaijan, 60 km away from the Armenian border. Evidence of heavy damage to the city,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan wrote in its official Tweet account on October 4.
The Armenian troops launched a large-scale military attack on positions of the Azerbaijani army on the front line, using large-caliber weapons, mortars and artillery on September 27. Azerbaijan responded with a counter-offensive along the entire front. As a result of retaliation, Azerbaijani troops liberated a number of territories previously occupied by Armenia, as well as take important, strategic heights under control.
Hikmat Hajiyev, a senior aide to the Azerbaijani president and the head of the foreign policy affairs department within the Presidential Administration tweeted that “Azerbaijan retains its right to take adequate measures against legitimate military targets to defend civilians and enforce Armenia to peace. Four new missiles just hit Ganja”.
Referring to the shelling of Ganja city that underwent fire from the territory of Armenia, Azerbaijani Defense Minister, Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov warned that “opening fire from Armenia’s territory on Azerbaijan’s territory is a provocative act and expands the zone of hostilities”.
The self-proclaimed leader of occupying forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Arayik Harutunyan announced that “at my orders, today the Defense Army delivered several rocket strikes with the purpose of neutralizing military facilities deployed in the city of Ganja”. He also warned the Azerbaijani side with continuing “proportionate and powerful strikes”
However, the Azerbaijani defense ministry denied the information spread by the Armenian side about the alleged shooting of military facilities and airport in Ganja, describing it “provocative and false”. “As a result of enemy fire, civilians, civilian infrastructure and ancient historical buildings were damaged,” the statement added.
Rockets from the “Smerch” system fell on the city, and some of them did not explode, and some were intercepted and destroyed in the air. From the morning of October 4, the Armenian forces also continued shelling civilians and civilian infrastructures in Azerbaijan’s districts of Terter, Beylegan, Aghdam and Fuzuli.
A total of 22 Azerbaijani civilians were killed, 74 were injured, 49 civil facilities and 248 houses were damaged as a result of heavy artillery shelling of settlements by the Armenian Armed Forces from September 27 October 4, according to the statement of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Azerbaijan.
Starting from September 27, the Armenian side shelled the positions of the Azerbaijan Army along the entire length of the front and Azerbaijani human settlements located in the frontline zone with large-caliber weapons, mortars, and artillery mounts of various calibers. For its turn, the Azerbaijani Army carries out counter-attack in response to the military attacks, damaging tanks, armored vehicles, artillery installations, rocket launch systems, as well as command and observation posts, air defense systems of the Armenian Army in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Over the past two days, the positions of the units of the Azerbaijan Army and our human settlements are being subjected to intensive shelling from a military unit deployed in Ballija, north of Khankendi, the capital of the separatist Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Azerbaijani defense ministry has repeatedly warned the Armenian army with taking adequate measures against the positions in Ballija.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war that ended in 1994 with a ceasefire agreement, Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on the withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding districts.