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Thursday, March 25, 1999 Published at 13:51 GMT


World: Europe

Nato attacks 'to intensify'

Pristina awoke to air raid sirens and flames

US Defence Secretary William Cohen has warned that the bombing campaign against Serb targets will intensify.

He told American television he was "satisfied with the progress" made during the first night of air strikes.

Kosovo: Special Report
"What we are trying to do is indicate to Mr Milosevic that he has an opportunity to pursue the path of peace at any time. This is a signal to him that we are serious," Mr Cohen said.

A similar message came from the UK Defence Minister George Robertson, speaking the morning after the biggest aerial bombardment in Europe since World War II.


George Robertson at a Defence Ministry news conference
"We shall continue to hit hard hard until our military objectives are achieved," he told a news conference in London.

In its latest emergency measure, Yugoslavia is expelling all journalists from Nato countries involved in the attacks.

Meanwhile, a new round of Nato air raids was reported to have been launched on Thursday morning against targets close to the Yugoslav capital.

Witnesses and local media say several sites have been hit including a military airport at Batajnica and an aircraft factory at Pancevo as air raid sirens sounded in Belgrade.

Nato's Secretary-General Javier Solana has also said that strikes will probably continue for "a few more days".

Milosevic praises his forces

Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has congratulated the air force and air-defence units for "resistance to the aggression of the Nato forces," state news agency Tanjug reported.


Milosav Paic: Nato wants to occupy part of our territory against our will
Nato strategists are assessing the aftermath of the first wave of attacks amid strong criticism at the UN Security Council and a declaration of war by the Yugoslav army.

Mr Solana, speaking on French radio, said Nato would give a briefing later today. Asked about how long the strikes would continue, he said: "It is very difficult to give a precise duration. I hope it will be very soon. We are talking about days, not months."

Journalists expelled


Jacky Rowland assesses the decision to expel journalists
The Yugoslav government issued a sweeping order expelling "immediately" all foreign journalists from Nato countries involved in the attacks.

A Yugoslav Government statement said they had to leave "because they, by their reporting from the territory of the Republic of Serbia, strengthened the aggressive acts of Nato forces aimed at violent destruction of the territorial integrity of Serbia and Yugoslavia".


Orla Guerin describes how the Serbian authorities have harrassed journalists
The BBC's Orla Guerin is among the the journalists already expelled from Kosovo, after being rounded up at gunpoint with other journalists in her hotel in Pristina in the early hours. She crossed into the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia this morning.

State of war


[ image:  ]
The western military alliance began Operation Allied Force at around 1900 GMT on Wednesday - saying its goal was to deter President Milosevic from further attacks on Kosovo Albanian civilians.

In Yugoslavia's first official estimate of casualties, Information Minister Goran Matic said 10 civilians had been killed in last night's Nato raids. Mr Matic said another 60 were injured. He declined to give any details of Yugoslav military casualties.


Kate Adie was on board the USS Gonzales for the first wave of attacks
The Yugoslav army said 40 targets were hit in three hours including five airports, five barracks, communications and command positions.

Families of military personnel had died in the attacks and Serbia had declared a "state of war" against Nato, the army said.

National television broadcast pictures of burning buildings throughout the country and what were reported to be victims in hospital.

Onslaught makes history

During the night, the Belgrade sky was lit up with tracer fire from anti-aircraft batteries in what was the first attack on a European capital since 1945.


[ image:  ]
All-clear sirens sounded as dawn broke in the Yugoslav capital, Belgrade and a semblance of normal life began to return.

In Kosovo's regional capital, Pristina, power has been restored after a complete black-out on Wednesday night but water supplies are still not back.

Russian warnings

Russian President Boris Yeltsin has warned that the US would be held to account for Nato air strikes against Yugoslavia.


[ image: Casualties: Those said to be injured shown on Serb TV]
Casualties: Those said to be injured shown on Serb TV
"Nato's aggression against Yugoslavia is a gross mistake by American diplomacy and Clinton, and they at the end will be held to account for it," Mr Yeltsin said in a statement reported on the Interfax news agency.

In an emergency meeting of the United Nations' Security Council, Russia and China led condemnations of Nato's action, describing it as a violation of international law.


Jacky Rowland describes a surprisingly normal scene today after bombardments the night before
President Yeltsin recalled Russia's representative at Nato's Brussels headquarters and ordered a halt to all co-operation with the alliance.

In an earlier address to the American people, President Bill Clinton said that the western allies had to fulfil a moral imperative over Kosovo.

"If President Slobodan Milosevic will not make peace, we will limit his ability to make war," he said.
[ image:  ]





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