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Select chronology of NATO attacks, March 24 - May 7, 1999

March 24
NATO bombing begins.

April 3
NATO destroyed the Most Slobode (Freedom Bridge) across Danube River to Novi Sad, and the bridge across the Danube that connects Backa Palanka with Croatian Bank.

April 5
On the evening of Monday, April 5, three NATO missiles and/or bombs were reported to have landed in a civilian neighborhood of Aleksinac, a village about 100 miles south of Belgrade, killing five civilians. Tanjug News Agency reported seventeen civilians killed. NATO expressed regret for the loss of life and called the incident an "accident of war." The intended target, NATO said, was a military barracks positioned nearby.

April 9
NATO admited damage to civilian homes in a strike on the main telephone exchange in Pristina, regretting "unintended damage or loss of civilian life" when a bomb struck some 200 to 300 meters from the target in what seems to be a small residential area.

April 12
A civilian passenger train traveling from Belgrade to Skopje, Macedonia, was hit by NATO bombs as it crossed a bridge on the Juzna Morava River, on the morning of Monday, April 12. At least ten people were killed and sixteen were wounded. (The Yugoslav government reported that fifty-five passengers were killed.) NATO reported that it had targeted the bridge because it was an important supply route into Kosovo. The bridge was at Grdelica Klisura, some 300 km south of Belgrade.

April 14
NATO acknowledged mistakenly attacking a civilian vehicle north of Djakovica, on the road between Djakovica and Decani. NATO called the incident an accident of war that resulted from an attempt to destroy Serb military forces who had set fire to civilian homes in the area. A NATO spokesman admitted that the pilot of an F-16 fired on what he believed to be military trucks, and expressed "deep regret."

April 18
NATO targeted economic sites reportedly in order to chip away at Milosevic's system of political and economic patronage. These sites include a tobacco factory and warehouse in Nis.

April 23
Sixteen employees of Serbian Television and Radio died in a NATO strike on its headquarters.

April 28
NATO admitted bombing the residential area of Surdulica in southern Serbia, when a missile intended to hit a military target strayed off course. Serb media reported that ten to twenty civilians were killed.

May 1
NATO admitted destroying a civilian bus crossing a bridge at Luzan, north of Pristina. There were forty-seven deaths, according to Yugoslav officials. NATO officials said that the bus appeared after an attacking aircraft released its weapon against the bridge, which it described as a key military route.

May 3
NATO reported it attacked five transformer substations in the Yugoslav electrical grid, blacking out 70 percent of homes in Serbia for some seven hours and causing intermittent loss of electrical power to civilian areas until May 4.

May 7
NATO reported it again attacked four transformer substations of the Yugoslav electrical grid, four in the vicinity of Belgrade, blacking out the capital.

May 7
NATO acknowledged it dropped cluster bombs on a market and the main hospital in Nis, Serbia's third largest city. Serb officials reported that fifteen people were killed and seventy wounded, and about twenty unexploded cluster bombs remained in the area. According to NATO, the bombs were intended to strike an airfield a mile away.

May 7
NATO admitted bombing the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, killing three people and injuring at least fifteen. NATO mistakenly targeted the site after outdated information indicated the building was a Yugoslav arms agency, the Federal Directorate for Supply and Procurement.

©Human Rights Watch 1999

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