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World - Europe

NATO beefs up firepower, doubles targets in Yugoslavia

Tank-killing Apache helicopters arrived in Albania on Wednesday

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The Kosovo refugees

Protesting the NATO strikes

Devastation of the Kosovo capital

The Serbs and Kosovo
White House: U.S. open to review of use of ground troops

20,000 Kosovo refugees to be allowed into U.S.

U.S. 'tank-killer' helicopters arrive in Albania

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Crisis in Kosovo
NATO officials describe the air campaign
NATO at 50

April 21, 1999
Web posted at: 10:14 p.m. EDT (0214 GMT)

In this story:

NATO strikes political party headquarters

Yugoslavia says 500 civilians dead

Campaign shadows summit


BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (CNN) -- As U.S. attack helicopters began arriving in Albania to boost NATO's firepower against Yugoslavia, NATO forces again struck in and around Yugoslavia's biggest cities.

The official Tanjug news agency reported "very strong detonations" early Thursday near the Batajnica airfield north of Belgrade, where dense smoke could be seen rising. Tanjug also reported an attack on the central Serb town of Valjevo, which has been frequently targeted in recent weeks.

Air raid sirens were followed by explosions in Yugoslavia's second-largest city, Novi Sad.

The attacks came on a day when former Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin was due in Belgrade on a new Russian mission to end the conflict over Kosovo.

The first of a contingent of U.S. Apache helicopters flew into Albania on Wednesday, after days of delays due to bad weather. Eleven of the tank-killing Apaches touched down at an airport near the capital, Tirana, along with an escort of Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters.

A total of 24 Apaches are slated to be in Albania by Thursday. More than 2,600 U.S. troops from bases in Germany will staff the growing helicopter force and provide protection. In addition, 615 personnel from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, are being sent to Albania.

NATO strikes political party headquarters

Early Wednesday, NATO cruise missiles severely damaged the Belgrade headquarters of Serbia's Socialist Party, the political organization led by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

NATO spokesman Jamie Shea described the Socialist Party offices as "the very center of the power structure in Belgrade," containing not only the political party office but parts of Yugoslavia's air defense command, communications and propaganda operations.

The structure houses the offices of TV Pink, a popular entertainment studio that has been involved with recent anti-NATO protests, and Kosava radio and TV, owned by Milosevic's daughter Marija.

NATO said the building also housed communications links that aided the Yugoslav army and air defense.

"That is enough for us to consider that a wholly legitimate target," Shea said.

With the additional aircraft committed to the Balkan campaign since NATO began air raids on March 24, the alliance is now able to hit twice as many targets daily as it could at the outset, Shea said. NATO hit 30 targets Wednesday, he said.

While Shea denied that Milosevic himself was a target, the attacks were meant to demonstrate that NATO "will go for the brain as much as we'll go for the fingertips."

But the "fingertips" -- the Yugoslav army in Kosovo -- were still moving Wednesday, attacking supply lines and attempting to disrupt communications of the Kosovo Liberation Army, Shea said. The ethnic Albanian rebel group has been battling Yugoslav troops for more than a year in a bid for independence for the province.

Much of that fighting has taken place west of the city of Pec, where as many as 15,000 Kosovars have been displaced and are on the move. An increasing number of refugees crossing into Albania and Macedonia have shrapnel or bullet wounds, Shea said.

Cruise missiles severely damaged Milosevic's political party headquarters Wednesday  
Pentagon video shows the destruction of a Yugoslav aircraft, highlighted by an orange arrow in the top left corner  

NATO's military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Giuseppe Marani, said NATO pilots encountered only light resistance from Yugoslav air defenses and suffered no losses.

Pilots were hampered by poor weather, but were still able to attack Yugoslav troops in Kosovo, Marani said.

Yugoslavia says 500 civilians dead

Another NATO attack in Novi Sad severely damaged the Zezeljev bridge, Yugoslavia's last link across the Danube River, NATO said.

Serbian television reported the bridge is now impassable except to pedestrians. Television footage showed the bridge was damaged, but not destroyed.

The Yugoslav Foreign Ministry told CNN that 500 civilians have died and more than 4,000 have been injured in the NATO bombing campaign. The report said 11 bridges had been destroyed and 14 damaged; 12 railways and railway stations hit; and six major roads, seven airports and 40 factories damaged or destroyed.

The report said 16 hospitals and health care centers also had been attacked, along with 190 schools and "tens of thousands" of private homes. Seventeen television relays and transmitters were also hit, the report said.

Serbian TV also reported:

  • An attack on the southern city of Novi Pazar, 110 miles (176 kilometers) south of Belgrade. The network also showed video of a damaged bridge at Beska, a town in the Vojvodina region, which it says was hit for the third time.
  • Strikes on a camp for Serbian refugees from Croatia outside Djakovica in Kosovo. It said three people were killed, including children, and several wounded.
  • The Krusik factory, a repeated target in Valjevo, was hit again. The report said a residential area was struck, injuring one person.
  • Attacks on an oil refinery and a Serbian TV transmitter in Novi Sad that knocked out television broadcasts in the region.

    Other strikes came in a village near the central Serbian town of Kraljevo, which has come under repeated attack, and Cacak, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of Belgrade.

    Campaign shadows summit

    The bombing campaign continued even as NATO's political leaders gathered in Washington to mark the 50th anniversary of NATO's creation. Shea said the mood would be one of "determination, resolve, but not one of despondency."

    "I believe this is probably the finest way we could celebrate the 50th anniversary of NATO -- to be actually doing things to uphold the principles in which we believe," Shea said. "I think it's much better to be defending those principles rather than simply proclaiming them."

    Ceremonies will be "distinguished but more sober," he said. The commemorative aspects of the anniversary conference have been toned down to make time for more meetings among NATO ministers.

    NATO at 50

    Sympathy for Serbs in Orthodox lands, due to history and faith
    April 22, 1999
    NATO beefs up firepower, doubles targets in Yugoslavia
    April 21, 1999
    Ground troops option to be reviewed by NATO leaders
    April 21, 1999
    Blair: 'No deal' for Milosevic
    April 20, 1999
    NATO launches fresh round of raids, Serbs say
    April 19, 1999
    NATO bombs hit several Yugoslav cities
    April 19, 1999

    Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites
      • Kosovo

      • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
          • Kesovo and Metohija facts
      • Serbia Ministry of Information
      • Serbia Now! News

      • Kosova Crisis Center
      • Kosovo - from

      • NATO official site
      • BosniaLINK - U.S. Dept. of Defense
      • U.S. Navy images from Operation Allied Force
      • U.K. Ministry of Defence - Kosovo news
      • U.K. Royal Air Force - Kosovo news
      • Jane's Defence - Kosovo Crisis

      • Kosovar doctor helps refugees one at a time
      • Mercy International USA
      • Donations for Kosovo Refugees
      • International Rescue Committee
      • Unicef USA
      • Doctors Without Borders
      • World Vision
      • CARE: The Kosovo Crisis
      • InterAction
      • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
      • International Committee of the Red Cross
      • Disaster Relief from
      • Catholic Relief Services
      • Kosovo Relief
      • ReliefWeb: Home page

      • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
      • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
      • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

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