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Operation Allied Force

Collateral Damage Incidents

NATO repeatedly denied that it deliberately attacked non-military buildings during Operation Allied Force and insisted that all possible precautions were taken to avoid civilian casualties. Serb officials put the death toll from the following incidents, most of which, but not all NATO acknowledged as errors, at more than 460. Overall, Serb authorities said some 2,000 civilians were been killed between the start of the air campaign on 24 March 1999 and June 1999.

  • April 5 -- A 550-pound NATO bomb aimed at Yugoslav army barracks in Aleksinac in southern Serbia misses its target and lands in a residential area. Serbs put death toll at 17.
  • April 9 -- NATO hits homes near a telephone exchange in the Kosovo capital, Pristina. NATO said civilian casualties were possible but neither side provided a death toll.
  • April 12 -- A NATO pilot fires two missiles into a train crossing a bridge at Grdelicka Klisura in southern Serbia, killing 55 people, according to Belgrade. NATO insists the bridge, a key supply line for Yugoslav forces in Kosovo, was the target and that the pilot saw the train too late.
  • April 14 -- NATO bombs refugee convoys in the Djakovica region of south-east Kosovo, leaving 75 dead, according to Belgrade. NATO, without confirming the civilian toll, said it was targeting military vehicles but admitted hitting two convoys.
  • April 28 -- NATO, aiming for an army barracks in the Serb village of Surdulica (250 kms/150 miles south of Belgrade), bombs a residential area, leaving at least 20 civilians dead.
  • May 1 -- NATO bombs a bridge at Luzane near Pristina, killing 47 people aboard a bus which was travelling along it. NATO, without confirming the figure, admitted the following day having targetted the bridge without the intention of causing civilian casualties.
  • May 7 -- A NATO air raid hits central Nis in southeast Serbia, leaving at least 15 dead and 70 injured. NATO said its planes were aiming for a landing strip and a radio transmitter but that a cluster bomb had missed its mark.
  • May 8 -- NATO mistakenly attacks the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, killing three journalists. The United States and NATO said the intended target was a Yugoslav building with military use, but US maps used in the planning of the operation were old and marked the embassy at a previous address.
  • May 13 -- NATO bombs the village of Korisa, leaving 87 civilians dead according to the Serbs. The allies claim that the civilians were being used as "human shields" and that Korisa was a legitimate military target.
  • May 20 -- A Belgrade hospital is hit by a missile at around 1 -- 00 a.m., killing three patients. NATO attributes the accident to a missile which went astray during an attack on a nearby military barracks.
  • May 21 -- NATO bombs Istok prison in north-west Kosovo. Alliance officials insist the prison was being used as an assembly point for Serb forces in the province. Serbs say at least 100 inmates and a prison officer were killed.
  • May 22 -- NATO admits bombing by mistake positions of the Kosovo Liberation Army at Kosare, near the border with Albania. Sources close to the KLA say seven guerillas were killed and 15 injured.
  • May 30 -- NATO bombs a highway bridge at Varvarin in a daytime raid in central Serbia. The Serbs claim 11 people died while attempting to cross the bridge in their cars. NATO has not confirmed whether there were cars on the bridge and insists the bridge was a legitimate military garget.
  • May 31 -- Missiles strike a sanatorium at Surdulica, southern Serbia, killing at least 20 people, according to the Serb authorities. NATO says it successfully attacked a military barracks in the town but refuses to confirm, or categorically deny, hitting the hospital.
  • May 31 -- A NATO bomb aimed at a military compound strikes a four-storey apartment block in the town of Novi Pazar. NATO confirms one of its bombs went astray and landed in a residential area. Serb authorities report 23 dead.
  • 1 June -- A NATO bomb landed in a residential neighbourhood in the Serbian town of Novi Pazar.



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