JERUSALEM: The Azeri military has been using Israeli-made attack drones during the recent uptick in violence with neighboring Armenia, Hikmet Hajiyev, assistant to the president of Azerbaijan, said in an interview with the Israeli Walla news outlet Wednesday.
Heavy fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh continued for a fourth straight day on Wednesday, in the biggest escalation in years of a decades-old conflict that has killed dozens and left scores of others wounded.
In the interview, Hajiyev said that his country has used Israeli drones, including loitering munitions, or “kamikaze drones,” in the recent round of fighting and lauded their effectiveness.
“Hats off to the engineers who designed it,” Hajiyev said.
He also said that the Azeris “very much appreciate the cooperation with Israel, especially the defense cooperation.”
Israel and Azerbaijan enjoy security and import agreements and it is speculated that Israel supplies 60 percent of the Azeri military’s armaments, while Azerbaijan supplies a large amount of natural fuel to the Jewish state.
Asked if he was disappointed by the silence from Israel regarding the recent fighting, Hajiyev said unequivocally, “No, no, Israel and Azerbaijan understand our situation,” and cited the multiple agreements between the two nations.
Asked about recent sightings of Azeri cargo planes that reportedly landed in Israeli military bases, and if Israel was supplying Azerbaijan with weapons for the current round of fighting, Hajiyev said he didn’t think so and brushed the question off, citing the defense agreements between the two nations, and noting that they are not a secret.
Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said Armenian forces started shelling the town of Tartar on Wednesday morning, damaging “civilian infrastructure” and wounding people, while Armenian military officials reported that Azerbaijani forces were bombing positions of the Nagorno-Karabakh army in the north of the war-torn region.