Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

NATO Planes Smash Serb Missiles Four Nations Strike; Fighters on Ground Invade U.N. Haven of Bihac

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

NATO Planes Smash Serb Missiles Four Nations Strike; Fighters on Ground Invade U.N. Haven of Bihac

Article excerpt

NATO planes blasted Serb missile batteries in two attacks Wednesday, while Bosnian Serb fighters broke into the U.N.-designated safe haven of Bihac.

Planes from the United States, Britain, France and the Netherlands struck at least two surface-to-air missile sites, one in Bosnia and one across the border in Croatia. NATO planes returned to one site after it became clear the first raid did not knock it out.

The raids followed a NATO air attack Monday on an airfield in a Serb-held region of Croatia.

In fighting on the ground, Maj. Herve Gourmelon, a U.N. spokesman in Sarajevo, confirmed for the first time that Serb forces had encroached on the "safe zone" around Bihac, a town of 48,000 in northern Bosnia. Bihac is one of six such areas in Bosnia, where U.N. troops are posted to protect civilians.

Bosnian Serbs apparently were holding positions on heights just south of the town. U.N. sources reported villages to the south and west were burning and civilians fleeing as Serbs tightened their grip on Bihac.

Handija Kabiljajic, Bihac's mayor, said in a telephone interview that the front line was 150 yards from the hospital in the middle of town. He said medicine was scarce and hospital patients were getting about a half cup of rice a day.

N In New York, the U.N. Security Council expressed late Wednesday night its "deep indignation" over the Serb assault against Bihac.

Council President Madeleine Albright, the U.S. ambassador, said the council called for using "all authorized means" to resupply the 1,200 Bangladeshi peacekeepers in the besieged enclave.

The U.N. is authorized to use force, including air power, to protect its soldiers.

Albright said there were 7,000 Serb soldiers in the area, facing 3,000 to 4,000 Bosnian government troops.

Spokesman Peter Kessler for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said about 8,000 people had fled from villages under attack in recent days. …

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