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Thursday, March 25, 1999 Published at 11:27 GMT


World: Europe

Pristina stunned by bombing

Bomb attacks in Pristina left people fearful of venturing out

Kosovo Albanians woke on Thursday in the regional capital Pristina to see smoke still rising from Nato's night bombing of four nearby targets.

Kosovo: Special Report
From 1950 (1850 GMT) to 0100 (2400 GMT), the night sky over the capital had been lit up intermittently by the explosions of three waves of Nato bomb attacks and cruise missiles.

Some residents had had little sleep. "I spent the night running from one window to another, trying to figure out where the blasts were coming from," said Mimosa, 19, who lives near western Pristina.

Air raid sirens wailed again on Thursday morning, but it was not clear if this heralded another aerial onslaught.

No water supply


Jacky Rowland: "People are trying to come to terms with the events of the night before"
Power was finally restored to the 200,000 residents of a blacked-out Pristina just before dawn. Correspondents say it was unclear whether generators had been damaged or switched off by the Serb authorities, but the water supply was still cut off.

The BBC's Jacky Rowland said a few residents ventured out to work, trying to carry on their everyday lives. Even a limited bus service was running.

But bakeries and other shops, which would normally have a bustling early morning trade, were shut.

One Kosovan Albanian resident said from her home: "Most people bought bread yesterday. They were only allowed four loaves each so they went from place to place or sent their children out to buy them."

Shops gutted

The most visible damage was to a row of Albanian cafes, stores and a private medical clinic which, say correspondents, had been gutted either by bombs or grenade attacks during the night.

Witnesses said the headquarters of the moderate ethnic Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova had been burnt down overnight.

Many residents fear that the conflict will touch off communal violence between Serbs and ethnic Albanians, who make up 90% of the population.

Ethnic Albanian sources said that separate attacks had left property still burning in the southern town of Djakovo and in the western city of Pec.

Serbian authorities in Kosovo said the airfield to the west of Pristina had been severely pounded by the bombing.



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