Historic Armenian cathedral damaged in shelling

Historic Armenian cathedral damaged in Karabakh shelling

Journalists and local inhabitants stand on October 8, 2020 inside the damaged Ghazanchetsots (Holy Saviour) Cathedral in the historic city of Shusha, some 15 kilometers from the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh province's capital Stepanakert, that was hit by a bomb as fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces spilled over. Credit: AFP.

Armenia said Thursday that Azerbaijani forces had shelled a historic cathedral in Nagorno-Karabakh's city of Shusha, where AFP journalists saw the church had suffered serious damage.

There was a gaping hole in the roof of the Ghazanchetsots (Holy Saviour) Cathedral, an iconic site for the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Rubble was strewn about the floor, pews were knocked over and the interior was covered in dust from parts of the building's limestone walls that had been hit. A section of its metallic roof had collapsed and fallen to the ground outside.

"Enemy Azerbaijan hit the symbol of Shushi -- the Cathedral of Ghazanchetsots," Armenian defence ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan said on Telegram, using the Armenian name for the city.

"There is no military, nothing strategic here, how can you target a church?" local resident Simeon, who lives near the church, told AFP.

"It is a very important cathedral for Armenians.... God will be the judge."