Two Azeri journalists, local official dead following landmine explosion near disputed Karabakh region

The remains of a rocket shell are seen after recent shelling during the military conflict over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, in the town of Martuni.

Two journalists and a local official were killed on Friday in a landmine explosion in Azerbaijan’s Kalbajar district on territory that was vacated by ethnic Armenian forces in November, the general prosecutor’s office said.

A cameraman for state-controlled AzTV and a correspondent for the Azerbaijan State News Agency were killed when their vehicle hit an anti-tank mine, it said. A local official also died and four people were injured.

The incident occurred at a time of heightened tensions in the wider region with Azerbaijan and Armenia accusing each other of border incursions in recent weeks, highlighting the fragility of a ceasefire that halted six weeks of fighting between ethnic Armenian forces and the Azeri army last year.

Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry blamed the blast on Armenia, accusing it of violating the Geneva Conventions by deliberately planting landmines. There was no immediate response from Armenia.

Last year’s conflict saw Baku drive ethnic Armenian forces out of swathes of territory they had controlled since the 1990s in and around the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

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