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Saturday, May 8, 1999 Published at 21:17 GMT 22:17 UK

Embassy bombing dominates Serb media

Serb TV said the embassy bombing was a "crime without precedent"

Serbian state television, radio and news agency bulletins were dominated by Nato's bombing on Friday night of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.

Kosovo: Special Report
Serbian TV carried extensive live reports showing ambulances, police officers, reporters and government officials arriving at the site where the missile struck shortly before midnight.

It said the building was "in flames" after the "aggressor aviation" hit the building in the Novi Beograd area of Belgrade.

"The Nato attack also damaged blocks of flats close to the embassy. Windows and doors were shattered and there is considerable shrapnel damage," it said.

A dazed Chinese man, later identified as the cultural adviser, told the TV reporter of his injuries as the camera focused on the man's bloody hand.

"This really is a crime without precedent. Chinese territory has been hit," the Serbian TV reporter said.

'Another blow to diplomacy'

The TV went on to show Yugoslav Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic arriving at the scene shortly after the bombing.

"No-one can understand this," Mr Jovanovic said. "There is no rational explanation for this. Those who have done this are not behaving rationally."

[ image: Some 20 people were reported injured in the Nato attack]
Some 20 people were reported injured in the Nato attack
The Yugoslav foreign minister spoke of "another blow to diplomacy, which should solve everything peacefully. But diplomatic means obviously don't suit those who started this".

The Serbian news agency Beta reported on the damage caused to the building and said the damage inside was "substantial".

"One missile landed between the building and the residence and the other hit the front of the building," Beta said.

The Chinese ambassador, other embassy officials and a large number of Chinese people were standing in front of the building and "watching what is happening in shock".

Beta also reported on the damage caused by other Nato raids on Friday night, saying the alliance's planes used graphite bombs "to disable four key transformer stations used to supply power to Belgrade".

'Deliberate and planned destruction'

The Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA reported on Friday what it described as "the crime committed in Nis today by the Nato aggressor".

The planes "bombed only civilian buildings, including a hospital, an emergency and accident ward and a city market".

It is "a typical crime against humanity which violates the foundations of the UN Charter and all international conventions on the conduct of war", the leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement, Vuk Draskovic, said in a statement quoted by SRNA.

"This deliberate and planned destruction of one of the largest towns in our country happened only 24 hours after the G8 summit in Bonn, where the door of peace had been slightly opened and where loyalty to the UN Charter and the international law had been pledged," Mr Draskovic said.

BBC Monitoring based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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