1,300 People Evacuated as NATO Bomb Removed from Serbian City of Nis

Sun Apr 21 2024
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NIS: Experts on Sunday removed a 1,000-kilogram (2,200-pound) bomb left over from the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia, prompting the evacuation of more than a thousand residents in the southern Serbian city of Nis, officials said as reported by AFP.

The interior ministry official, Luka Causic, said that the bomb was safely extracted from a construction site located in the Nis neighborhood. “It is being transported to a safe location where it will be destroyed,” Causic informed reporters regarding the removal process.

Prior to the operation, authorities evacuated 1,300 residents from the vicinity where the bomb was discovered, ensuring their safety during the extraction and transportation process, Causic added. Police, firefighters, and medical teams were deployed to oversee the operation and guarantee a secure environment.

Describing the explosive device, Causic stated that the MK-84 bomb contained an explosive charge of 430 kilograms, underscoring the potential danger posed by the unexploded ordnance.

The removal of the bomb harkens back to the NATO bombing campaign launched on March 24, 1999, which aimed to halt Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic’s brutal crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists in Kosovo. The campaign lasted 78 days and was initiated without the approval of the UN Security Council.

Nis, the third-largest city in Serbia, bore witness to one of the deadliest incidents during the NATO bombing. On May 7, 1999, NATO planes dropped cluster bombs on a crowded central outdoor market, resulting in the deaths of more than a dozen civilians. This tragic event was subsequently acknowledged as a “blunder” in the NATO campaign.

The city of Nis faced further devastation on May 12, 1999, when it was once again targeted by NATO airstrikes, resulting in the deaths of 11 civilians due to the use of cluster bombs.

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