New strike on Karabakh church injures journalists: Armenia

By: AFP      Published: 08:00 PM, 8 Oct, 2020
New strike on Karabakh church injures journalists: Armenia

Renewed shelling on a historic Armenian cathedral in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region has left several journalists injured, the Armenian government said Thursday, after earlier strikes damaged the iconic church.

"Russian and local journalists were wounded in the second shelling by Azerbaijani forces targeting Ghazanchetsots Cathedral," the Armenian government wrote on Twitter, adding that one of the reporters was undergoing surgery.

AFP journalists earlier Thursday witnessed extensive damage to the Ghazanchetsots (Holy Saviour) Cathedral after shelling left its metal roof collapsed and fallen to the ground outside.

Azerbaijan denied the first round of shelling, saying its forces never target historical, cultural, or especially religious buildings and monuments.

The enormous cathedral, built between 1868 and 1887, is of major symbolic importance for Armenians. 

It is the seat of the Diocese of Karabakh and suffered heavy damage during the 1990s war over the disputed region, when it was used as a storage site for Grad rockets by Azerbaijani forces.

Fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces erupted again late last month over the disputed Karabakh region and the clashes have claimed more than 300 lives including civilians.

Both sides have accused the other of targeting civilian areas and the clashes show no sign of abating despite urgent calls from international leaders for a ceasefire.