Two French journalists seriously wounded after shelling in Nagorno-Karabakh

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YEREVAN/PARIS (Reuters) - Two French journalists working for Le Monde newspaper were in a serious condition on Thursday after shelling by Azeri forces in the town of Martuni in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and will be repatriated to France as soon as possible, officials said.

“The foreign ministry’s crisis centre is mobilised ... to organise their repatriation as quickly as possible,” French President Emmanuel Macron said on arrival in Brussels for a European Union summit.

“A medical plane is ready to leave. We are doing everything to stabilise the wounded on the spot before allowing their evacuation,” he said.

Dozens of people have been reported killed and hundreds wounded since Sunday in fighting between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces.

Le Monde Chief Editor Luc Bronner told Reuters a reporter and photographer had been wounded, but did not name the two. The journalists were transported to a local hospital and were in a serious condition, an Armenian government source said.

The journalists had been filming civilians with a group of reporters in Martuni in the west of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the Armenian source said.

Regis Genté, a journalist for France 24 TV who was with the two wounded, said the group was filming homes that had been bombed earlier in the week.

“It was when we were looking at the rubble of the bombing from Sunday that we heard in a flash a rocket and it fell to the ground. The attack lasted about a minute,” he told France 24.

The French foreign ministry said in a statement “We can’t stress enough how serious and dangerous the situation is in this active conflict zone. The French authorities strictly advise against going there.”

Reporting by Nvard Hovhannisyan, Blandine Henault, Geert de Clercq, Carolien Pailliez and John Irish; Writing by John Irish; Editing by Alison Williams and Frances Kerry