U.N. delegation heading to Yugoslavia
NATO carries out rare daytime bombing
May 16, 1999
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (CNN) -- As NATO intensifies its bombing runs on Yugoslavia, a U.N. delegation is due to arrive in Belgrade Sunday for a humanitarian visit.
The humanitarian officials, who plan a 10-day tour of Serbia, including parts of Kosovo, will be the first U.N. representatives to visit Yugoslavia since NATO began airstrikes almost two months ago.
U.N. relief coordinator Sergio Vierira de Mello will head the group of officials from the High Commissioner for Refugees and the Children's Emergency Fund -- both U.N. agencies -- as well as the World Health Organization.
Vierira de Mello said the delegation has been assured it can move freely in Yugoslavia.
Meanwhile, air raid sirens went off in Belgrade and other Yugoslavian cities Saturday around 10 p.m. local time (4 p.m. EDT), Serb television reported, as residents prepared for another evening of what have become routine nighttime attacks. There were reports of explosions in the Belgrade suburb of Batajnica, the site of a military air field previously hit by NATO bombs, Serb media said.
Earlier Saturday, NATO forces carried out their heaviest daytime attacks since bombing began March 24, according to Serb TV. Most alliance raids have taken place at night.
Bridges and highways were among the primary targets, as well as the central industrial town of Cacak, Serb TV reported. It said the attack began about noon local time (6 a.m. EDT).
Kosovo suffered from the worst day of bombings yet, with 90 missiles landing by 5 p.m. local time (11 a.m. EDT), according to Tanjug, the state-controlled news agency.
One of the targets was the southern town of Urosevac, about 20 miles (30 km) from the Macedonian border, Tanjug said. No injuries were reported.
Two bridges across the Toplica River north of Kosovo and a portion of the highway linking Belgrade and Nis also were hit, the Serb media reported.
Earlier Saturday, U.S. officials pledged heavier NATO assaults on Yugoslavia.
"We intend to intensify the air campaign to take it even more effectively to the forces on the ground," said Gen. Wesley Clark, NATO's top military commander.
During news briefings Saturday, NATO officials continued to answer questions regarding an airstrike that Yugoslav officials say killed 87 ethnic Albanians Thursday night in Korisa, a town in southern Kosovo.
Alliance officials said a military storage facility in Korisa was targeted and suggested that Yugoslav troops forced refugees there at the time of the bombings.
"We know there is a real threat of human shields all the way through Kosovo," Clark said at Rinas airport in Albania, where he visited the U.S. Army's Apache helicopter attack force.
Yugoslav officials, who said no military units were in the area, called the allegation "crazy," according to Serb media.
The country has had virtually no national defenses since it broke away from Yugoslavia. The deliveries mark the first time Macedonia has owned major military hardware since 1991.
The equipment includes 94 Soviet-built T-55A tanks and 108 howitzer cannons with 40 tons of ammunition.
Macedonia, an impoverished Balkan nation straining to support one-third of the 780,000 ethnic Albanians that have fled the fighting in Kosovo, recently received a pledge from the United States for $21 million in economic aid for the refugees.
In other developments:
Yugoslavia says village death toll tops 100
Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites:
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