World Bulletin / News Desk
Azerbaijani armed forces hit Armenian positions on Friday to prevent another "provocation" in the southwestern Fuzuli region, its Defense Ministry said.
The ministry statement said several Armenian soldiers were killed and military equipment was destroyed as a result of offensive, the ministry said in a statement.
The operation came three days after the Armenian army reportedly opened fire in the village of Alhanli in the Fuzuli region, killing a two-year-old girl and a 50-year-old woman.
The ministry said the aim of Friday's operation was to take "revenge" for the civilians who were killed on Tuesday.
Baku said Thursday that Armenian forces had deliberately targeted civilians in a deadly howitzer attack on a village this past week.
The U.S. on Thursday voiced "deep" concern over Tuesday's attack and extended "heartfelt" condolences to the families of the victims.
"Along with OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] Minsk Group co-chairs, we call upon the sides to cease military action and return to the negotiating table," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters.
The UN said it was also "increasingly" concerned with the deteriorating security environment in the region.
"We call upon the sides to refrain from any military action and strongly urge them to take immediate steps to de-escalate tensions and prevent further violence," Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the secretary-general, told reporters on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said the "atrocious" attack clearly shows that Armenian provocations using heavy weapons in border regions target civilians, especially woman and children, contrary to both international law and human values.
Azerbaijan and Armenia remain in dispute over the Upper Karabakh region, which a pro-Armenian militia invaded in 1993.
Three UN Security Council resolutions and two General Assembly resolutions refer to Upper Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe refers to the region as being occupied by Armenian forces.
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