CNN Balkan Conflict News

Bosnian Serbs remain defiant as air strikes continue

August 30, 1995 11:30 p.m. EDT

From Correspondent Christiane Amanpour

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (CNN) -- The United Nations says it will continue its attack on Bosnian Serb targets near Sarajevo until the rebel Serbs move or silence their guns.

Bosnian Serb Gen. Ratko Mladic said he would keep his guns in position, but added he would not fire first but would respond only to an attack. Mladic reported significant casualties on the ground, and Bosnian Serb television showed pictures purported to be of Mladic visiting wounded soldiers in a hospital.

NATO officials tell CNN the plan for the next several days is to determine if the Serbs are complying with the demand that they remove their weapons from the safe areas, and if they do not, to continue the attack. At this point, there is no indication that any Serb weapons have been moved away from the safe areas.

After meeting with French President Jacques Chirac in Paris, Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic told reporters "The world has finally done what it should have done a long time ago." He added the NATO action would open the world for peace.

"They have created a procedent that may endanger world peace and that may trigger a third world war."

--Radovan Karadzic, Bosnian Serb leader

For his part, Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic sent a typically apocalyptic message Wednesday, telling reporters, NATO forces "have created a precedent that may endanger world peace and that may trigger a third world war." (128k .aiff sound file)

There has been no detailed damage assessment yet, although Pentagon and United Nations officials say NATO forces bombed ammunition storage sites, command control centers, heavy weapons and air defense systems.

Some analysts were warning that the Bosnian Serb military capability has not been crippled by the assault. Although the NATO attack is by far the biggest that has taken place in Bosnia, it has been somewhat restrained. The U.N. and its allies are mindful of not trying to derail the fragile prospect of peace. (See "Peace talks inch forward")

"The world has finally done what it should have done a long time ago."

--Alija Izetbegovic, Bosnian President

In related matters, European Union officials say five E.U. monitors have been killed in Bosnia. It was not immediately clear whether they died in the NATO raids although they were apparently on Bosnian Serb territory.

NATO and French government officials confirmed Wednesday a French Mirage jet was shot down over Bosnia. The two-man crew ejected although their fate is still unknown. NATO officials say they are trying to find where the two French airmen are located so they can rescue them. NATO has no information to confirm that the two airmen are in the hands of the Serbs. (See "French NATO warplane downed")


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