An Azerbaijani soldier was shot and killed by ethnic Armenian forces near Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijani officials said late Monday. Armenian defense officials denied the report.
The incident came amid increasing exchange of gunfire between Azerbaijani and ethnic Armenian forces near Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountain territory that is in Azerbaijan but has been controlled - along with some surrounding areas - by Karabakh and Armenian forces since a shaky cease-fire in 1994 ended a six-year separatist war. Some 30,000 people were killed and about 1 million driven from their homes during the fighting.
Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said Qali Ismailov died Saturday in the Terter region northeast of Nagorno-Karabakh. It also said in a statement that the region has seen at least three exchanges of automatic weapons fire and mortars in the past three days.
Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman Seyran Shahsuvarian denied that Armenian gunfire had killed any Azerbaijani soldiers.