July 23, 1995
2:15 PM EDT
Western allies may be finally toughening up on Bosnian Serb forces. U.N. commanders deployed in Bosnia have ordered their Rapid Reaction Force to send artillery units to the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo.
Part of a 12,000-member contingent of mostly French and British soldiers, the special combat group should arrive in the Bosnian capital later today.
Marking the first time that Rapid Reaction Forces have swung into action, the deployment falls on the heels of yesterday's Western casualties. Two French peacekeepers were killed when Bosnian Serbs shelled U.N. aid convoys in separate incidents. However, Clinton Press Secretary Mike McCurry stressed that the deployment was already in the works. The forces' mission: to maintain supply routes into Sarajevo -- and to ensure the peacekeepers' safety.
Meanwhile, civilians in Sarajevo are again victims of Serb shelling. Two people were killed today, including one man who was riding his bicycle. Six others were injured. Elsewhere in beleaguered Bosnia, the U.N. reports fierce attacks on several fronts around the northwest enclave of Bihac. Rebel Muslims, as well as Croatian and Bosnian Serbs, are pounding Bosnian government positions. Zepa also came under attack, but remains in government hands.
With momentum building to arm the Bosnians, the Croatian government says it will provide military assistance, and Islamic countries say they too will provide weapons. They say they consider the arms embargo invalid.
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