Pentagon: Helicopters, troops heading to Albania
Yugoslavs report civilian casualties
April 4, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon announced Sunday the U.S. will send 24 Apache helicopters and 2,000 soldiers to Albania to beef up NATO's operation against Serb targets.
Earlier, allied spokesmen said NATO airstrikes are cutting off vital supplies to the Yugoslav army in Kosovo, while Yugoslavia reported that a civilian heating plant had been hit in the latest round of strikes, killing a security guard.
As the NATO strikes resumed at targets near Belgrade early Sunday, the Yugoslav army in Kosovo was moving westward to attack remaining guerrilla forces of the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army, said British Air Commodore David Wilby, NATO's military spokesman.
NATO strikes pounded military command centers, bridges, fuel supplies and air defense installations around Belgrade, Wilby said, with the aim of breaking supply lines to the troops in other parts of the country.
"Our air effort was concentrated around Belgrade, with attacks being conducted against major army and security forces in the city, including the headquarters of the Yugoslav First Army," Wilby said.
In London, Britain's Armed Forces Minister Doug Henderson said the bombings are beginning to take a toll on the Yugoslav army and Serbian special police, which NATO accuses of carrying out a campaign of "ethnic cleansing" against ethnic Albanians in the Serbian province of Kosovo.
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's "forces are increasingly isolated in the field and running short of fuel and ammunition," Henderson said.
Report: Rugova under house arrest
Meanwhile, a NATO member reported that ethnic Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova is under house arrest in Kosovo, NATO spokesman Jamie Shea said Sunday.
"He has no freedom of movement, but has to report to local police several times a day," Shea said.
Shea said pictures of Rugova meeting with Milosevic, broadcast Thursday on Serbian television, may date back two years, when Rugova signed an education agreement with the president.
Yugoslavia's state-run television has reported that Rugova called for an end to NATO airstrikes. But the NATO member said that Rugova's broadcasted comment was "a call for the cessation of violence, and it was altered in the transcription," Shea said.
"We ought to be able to have access to Mr. Rugova to find out the facts for ourselves," James Steinberg, U.S. deputy national security adviser, told CNN.
Clearer weather favors NATO
NATO attacks on Belgrade resumed Sunday when large explosions began to rock Belgrade about 4:35 a.m. (9:35 p.m., Saturday EST). CNN reporters saw a fireball and an orange glow which lit up the sky.
Bad weather over the region is beginning to lift, allowing NATO forces to unleash their "full weight" on Yugoslavia, British military officials said in a Sunday news conference.
"The weather in the operational area is at last improving, and we confidently expect the full weight of NATO's air power will be brought to bear in the next few days," said Air Marshal Sir John Day, Britain's deputy chief of staff.
Sunday's strikes destroyed what Belgrade said was the city's largest heating plant. City officials said the plant was used only to provide heat for more than one million people and is now completely out of commission.
The plant manager said a security guard was burned to death in the attack and three other workers were hospitalized.
"All our workers are in deep shock," plant manager Predrag Vasic said. "We cannot believe that there are those who can attack this type of facility."
An oil refinery at Kraljevo near the city of Cacak in central Yugoslavia was also hit Sunday. Serbian TV reported that at least three people were injured by the attack in Kraljevo.
'Immense inconvenience' to troops
On Saturday, NATO attacks took out a second bridge in Novi Sad over the Danube River, one of Europe's most important waterways.
"We know that taking those bridges down is causing some inconvenience to citizens," Wilby said. "It is causing immense inconvenience to the units we are trying to stop resupply their forces in the heart of Kosovo with the ammunition, the fuel and (other) supplies to keep up their activities."
"Given another couple days, I think you will see a very real and marked input in the whole result of this conflict," Wilby said.
Sunday marked the 50th anniversary of NATO's founding. Shea said no one at NATO headquarters in Brussels expected to celebrate the anniversary under the circumstances.
"But then," he added, "this organization was not set up to deal with the happy situations in life."
Britain: NATO unleashing 'full weight' on Yugoslavia
Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.