Azerbaijan's air force chief killed

Azeri commander shot dead by unknown assailants in capital Baku.

    Lieutenant General Rail Rzayev was shot
    dead as he left home in the capital Baku [AFP]

    Oil rich Azerbaijan is part of the strategically important but fragile South Caucasus where Russia and the US are still competing for influence.

    The ex-Soviet republic hosts a pipeline pumping Caspian Sea oil to world markets.

    Azerbaijan is locked in a dispute with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region where ethnic Armenian separatists threw off Azeri rule in a 1990s war that killed about 35,000 people.

    The two countries are technically still at war.

    Rzayev headed Azerbaijan's air force since 1992.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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