Azerbaijan says 21 dead in Armenia missile attack

Azerbaijan says 21 dead in Armenia missile attack

Azerbaijan says 21 dead in Armenia missile attack

Azerbaijan accused Armenia of killing 21 people and wounding dozens in a missile strike near Nagorno-Karabakh on Oct. 28, the deadliest reported attack on civilians in a month of fighting over the disputed region.    

Azerbaijani presidential aide Hikmet Hajiyev said Armenian forces had fired Smerch missiles against Barda, accusing them of using cluster munitions "to inflict excessive casualties among civilians".    

"Armenia used cluster munitions to inflict excessive casualties among civilians," Hajiyev said.

"It is [the] policy of state terror by Armenia. Deliberately city center of Barda was targeted," he added.

The prosecutor general's office said the strike had hit a densely populated area and a shopping district, killing 21 civilians and wounding at least 70.     

This follows Oct. 27's attacks that killed at least four civilians and injured 10 as Armenia continues to flout numerous cease-fires.

The casualties are the worst for Azerbaijani civilians since 13 people were killed in shelling on the country's second city Ganja on October 17.

Earlier, Azerbaijani Defense Ministry in a statement confirmed that "there are killed and injured people" and "civilian infrastructure was damaged."

"Armenian armed forces, grossly violating the humanitarian ceasefire regime, have fired at the Barda city from the "Smerch" MLRS [Multiple Launch Rocket System]," the ministry said.

Meanwhile, Turkey's Defense Ministry also slammed the attack on Oct. 28.

"The Armenian Army, so inept as to collaborate with the PKK terrorist organization, is slaughtering civilians by constantly violating ceasefires. Yet, the Azerbaijan Army has liberated 183 previously occupied settlements through a gallant&heroic struggle on the frontlines and continues to do so," the ministry said.

Since the clashes erupted on Sept. 27, Armenia has repeatedly attacked Azerbaijani civilians and forces, even violating three humanitarian cease-fires since Oct. 10.