Heavily damaged building in Stepanakert

SATEPANAKERT — Azerbaijani forces shelled Nagorno-Karabakh’s capital Stepanakert on Friday, injuring at least four local residents and damaging several buildings.

An RFE/RL correspondent at the scene, Sargis Harutyunyan, reported that the city was rocked by several explosions that partly destroyed the headquarters of the Karabakh Rescue Service.

Residents of Stepanakert take cover in a bomb shelter

“Four persons were injured,” a spokesperson for the service told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. “Thank God, nobody was killed.”

Karabakh officials said that Stepanakert was hit by rockets fired by the Azerbaijani army. The city is located a few dozen kilometers from the nearest section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” around Karabakh.

“There will be a proportionate retaliation,” a spokesman for Arayik Harutiunyan, the Karabakh president, said shortly after the shelling. “The family of [Azerbaijani President Ilham] Aliyev will bear the full responsibility for that.”

Damaged cars and houses in Stepanakert

The RFE/RL reporter and a cameraman had to take cover in a basement when Stepanakert again came under heavy artillery fire in the evening. One of the shells or rockets exploded near their shelter.

Karabakh Defense army said Azerbaijani forces also fired rockets at the Karabakh town of Hadrut. Five Hadrut residents were wounded, it said.

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