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Armenia Reports Azeri Shelling, Drone Attacks


Armenia - A passenger bus in Gegharkunik region destroyed in what the Armenian military described as an Azerbaijani air strike.

Armenia accused Azerbaijan late on Thursday of shelling its territory and attacking it with military drones on the fifth day of large-scale hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.

The Armenian military claimed to have shot down seven unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) which it said entered Armenia from Azerbaijan. It said that one of them launched a missile on an Armenian border village and killed a local resident before being destroyed by Armenian air-defense forces.

The village of Mets Masrik is located in the country’s eastern Gegharkunik province bordering Azerbaijan. According to Shushan Stepanian, a spokeswoman for the Armenian Defense Ministry, two other drones were downed in the same area northwest of Karabakh.

Stepanian said at around midnight that a fourth Azerbaijani UAV was shot down deep inside Armenian territory, in central Kotayk province. She also reported that Azerbaijani forces shelled another border village in Gegharkunik, Shatvan, late in the evening.

One of the two main Armenian highways leading to Karabakh passes through that village. Stepanian said that a local section of that highway was shelled by Azerbaijani forces earlier on Thursday.

Baku did not immediately react to these reports. It said in the afternoon that the Armenian army fired long-range rockets from Armenia at Azerbaijani army positions southeast of Karabakh.

Meanwhile, Karabakh officials accused the Azerbaijani side of stepping up artillery strikes against Karabakh towns and villages. They said that in one of those towns, Martuni, four civilians died as a result.

Two Armenian and two French journalists were wounded in Martuni during the shelling. One of the correspondents for France’s Le Monde daily underwent life-saving surgery in Stepanakert.

According to Karabakh authorities, a total of 11 Karabakh Armenian civilians have been killed since the start of the hostilities on September 27. The Azerbaijani side has reported 16 civilian casualties.

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