Oct 17, 2020 12:50 UTC
  • Death, destruction after missiles hit Azerbaijan's second city of Ganja

A missile strike has leveled a row of homes in Azerbaijan's second largest city of Ganja, killing at least 13 and injuring more than 40 people in their sleep in a sharp escalation of the conflict over Karabakh.

The Azeri Prosecutor General's office said the assault took place in the early hours of Saturday as two missiles hit apartment buildings in central Ganja, causing severe damage.

AFP said its team in Ganja had seen rows of houses turned to rubble by the strike, which shattered the walls and ripped the roofs off buildings in the surrounding streets.

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

Azerbaijan's presidential aide, Hikmet Hajiyev, censured in a series of tweets the missile attack and underlined that at least 20 buildings have been destroyed by Armenia's missiles, which he said were of the Scud series.

One of the missiles fell near a school in Ganja city and another targeted a multi-story residential apartment which was completely razed to the ground.

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.

Azerbaijan's public prosecutor's office also reported that a hydroelectric power plant in the city of Mingacevir was targeted by the Armenian forces after midnight but the missiles were intercepted and destroyed by the Azerbaijani air defense forces.

The development came despite a ceasefire agreed between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh last Saturday following 11 hours of Russia-mediated negotiations in Moscow.

Since then, both sides have repeatedly accused each other of violating the deal and targeting civilians.