Cruise missiles strike Belgrade again
Some workers reported hospitalized
April 4, 1999
NOVI SAD, Yugoslavia (CNN) -- Belgrade was assessing the damage on Sunday after NATO struck a series of targets around the city, damaging what Serb TV described as a heating plant, a police academy and an oil warehouse.
At about 4:35 a.m. Sunday Belgrade time (9:35 p.m. EST) Belgrade was rocked by a large explosion.
CNN reporters saw a fireball and an orange glow which lit up the sky.
Serb TV showed pictures of what it said was a thermal electric plant -- a facility which would make steam for heat and generate electricty -- in Novi Belgrade or new Belgrade. They said five workers inside the facility at the time of the attack and all were hospitalized.
In addition, a police academy in Banjica southwest of Belgrade was hit. No injuries were reported there.
An oil refinery at Kraljevo near the city of Cacak in central Yugoslavia was also hit. Serbian TV says at least 3 people were injured by the attack in Kraljevo.
Bright orange flames and dark smoke boiled up from the plant in Novi Belgrade.
Second major bridge destroyed
CNN's Martin Savidge reported from the USS Gonzalez that ships in the Adriatic Sea had launched a "substantial strike" against Yugoslavia with three ships launching cruise missiles.
He said cruise missiles were launched from both ends of the destroyer Gonzales. Another ship launched 15 missiles, Savidge said.
A Pentagon official said Belgrade was on Saturday's target list but would go no further.
On Friday night, cruise missiles rocked the two government buildings which house the Yugoslav Interior Ministry in down Belgrade.
Earlier Saturday, NATO destroyed a second major bridge in Novi Sad, blocking the Danube River and further isolating Serbia's second largest city.
Serb TV broke into programming to say that the Kamenicki Bridge had been hit around 8 p.m. Saturday local time (1 p.m. EST) by a cruise missile. Novi Sad is 80 km (50 miles) north of Belgrade. Three bridges cross the Danube to connect the city with the rest of Yugoslavia.
NATO said last week when the first bridge was hit that the bridges were being used to support troops in Kosovo.
Divers search for cars
An eyewitness said rescue divers were searching for one or two cars that were on the bridge when it was hit. Electricity was knocked out in the area.
Serbian TV also reported that a bridge 30 miles west of Novi Sad had been hit on Saturday.
Serb TV later said at least three people were hurt when the Novi Sad bridge was hit. It said some were seriously injured and showed video of a man lying in a hospital bed.
The attack came after NATO said that if the exodus of refugees from kosovo continues at its present pace, the entire Kosovar Albanian population will have been forced into neighboring countries in the next 10 to 20 days.
"If you wanted to do a kind of back of the envelope mathematical calculation, at this rate the Serb security forces would have more or less emptied Kosovo in 10 to 20 days from now," spokesman Jamie Shea said at a NATO briefing.
Shea estimated that the number of Kosovo Albanians displaced from their homes was more than 765,000 out of a total population of 1.8 million ethnic Albanians.
Helicopters enroute to Albania
He said NATO was sending troops and helicopters to Albania to help the Albanian government with the refugee crisis.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said 315,000 refugees had crossed into Albanian, Macedonia and Montenegro since March 24th.
Shea estimated that between 200,000 and 300,000 more Kosovar Albanians were still inside Kosovo heading towards the country's borders.
Macedonia announced Saturday it was not allowing any more refugees in, but President Clinton appealed to Macedonian officials to reopen the border.
Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon said a C-17 cargo plane left Dover Air Force Base Saturday with the first shipment of 500,000 rations for refugees in Albania.
"This C-17 had about 30,000 of these HDRs, the humanitarian daily rations.
We are also dispatching today a C-5 carrying unloading equipment, a 60,000 pound loader, fork lifts and other cargo-handling equipment," said Bacon
The weather was inhibiting NATO's ability for air strikes in Kosovo but not stopping them, despite cloud cover up to 30,000 feet.
NATO missiles transformed two government buildings in central Belgrade early Saturday into massive fireballs -- the first attack in the heart of the Yugoslav capital since Operation Allied Force began.
Orange plumes fill sky
Two explosions, followed by several secondary blasts, rocked Belgrade in the early hours, sending massive, bright-orange flames high into the sky.
Sheets of fire poured from the darkened windows.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia and the Yugoslav Ministry of Internal Affairs were hit, Belgrade officials told CNN.
Shea went out his way Saturday to say that there is no change in NATO's stance on Yugoslavia after Secretary-General Javier Solana referred to an international military force being required to implement a peace agreement in Kosovo, leaving the impression that NATO might be considering a change in its demands.
Asked specifically if there was a new version of the Rambouillet peace accords being considered, Shea said no.
Later he told CNN, "NATO's military action supports the political aims of the international community: a peaceful multiethnic, democratic Kosovo in which all its people live in security.
To this end, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia must stop all repressive and combat activity and withdraw its forces from Kosovo and accept arrangements in which all refugees can return safely to Kosovo under the protection of an international security force."
Part of railroad targeted
NATO Air Commodore David Wilby said the air attacks were slowly achieving their objectives.
"You've seen ammunition plants been taken out. You've seen other storage facilities taken out. We have hit petrochemical areas and storage areas and we are now starting to hit him on the ground," he said.
Thirteen F-117A stealth fighters were scheduled to leave Holloman AFB in New Mexico Saturday for Italy and Germany. One plane will go to the Aviano Air Base in Italy to replace the fighter which went down over Yugoslavia last weekend.
The other 12 were dispatched to Spangdahlem, Germany. In addition, 250 support personnel were also being sent to Germany.
In an attempt to stop Yugoslav forces from traveling through Bosnia, NATO's SFOR peacekeeping troops in Bosnia destroyed on Saturday a portion of a railroad that cuts through Bosnia.
The portion destroyed was near Rijeka a Serb-controlled near Bosnia's border with Yugoslavia.
Yugoslavia's Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic has referred to three U.S.soldiers captured by the Yugoslav Army as prisoners of war.
"I can tell you for sure, I can tell your fellow Americans -- American POW, the three American soldiers are safe and treated in a civilized manner. As for the arrest, it is up to the authorities to investigate and to find particular surrounding and particular facts which will clarify the circumstances of their involvement in the aggression against Yugoslavia," he said in an appearance Friday night on CNN.
Navy Capt. Steve Pietropaoli said at the Pentagon Saturday there is no new information on the three U.S. soldiers.
"We have heard some assurances from the Yugoslav government publicly that they're being well cared of. We didn't see much reassurance out of the pictures that were shown on TV of those soldiers."
Correspondents Patricia Kelly, Brent Sadler, John King, Alessio Vinci, Martin Savidge and Bill Delaney contributed to this report.
Kosovo's huddled masses wait for sanctuary
Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites
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