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Yugoslavs Searching Through Rubble

May 3, 1999

VALJEVO, Yugoslavia (AP) _ Dozens of NATO bombs rained down on Valjevo early today, reducing two apartment buildings to rubble, blowing out the windows of a hospital and flattening a factory.

``If it’s true that NATO is surgically precise, then we really were the targets,″ Miodrag Arandjelovic, 30, said as residents of the devastated apartments crept out of shelters to survey the damage and search for remnants of personal belongings.

Some 2,000 residents were due to be relocated after their apartments were destroyed or damaged in the air attack in Valjevo, 55 miles southwest of Belgrade, said Snezana Tomasevic, an official with the town council.

The air raid injured 14 people and two remained hospitalized Monday, said Dr. Miroslav Sreckovic, duty physician at the local hospital.

Residents said the Krusik factory, which manufactures ammunition and hydraulic equipment, was hit by 20 NATO projectiles. Sixteen more bombs hit the group of apartment buildings only 400 yards away, destroying 50 apartments and damaging scores more.

The factory has been hit repeatedly since NATO launched its punitive airstrike campaign against the country March 24.

Sreckovic said three bombs fell in a park near his hospital, smashing windows, blowing off roof tiles and throwing shrapnel into hospital rooms. A ceiling collapsed over a woman in labor, but neither she nor the newborn baby were hurt, he said.

At noon Monday, a rescue team searched for anyone trapped under a three-story building that had been reduced to a heap, and engineers cleared debris.

A crater gaped in the middle of the street and a charred tree trunk lay severed beside it. Garbage, earth and debris littered the street. A demining squad was busy in a building where an unexploded bomb had landed.

Momir Karadarevic, 71, his wife, Ljiljana, 60, and their seven children and grandchildren spent the night in a shelter. Both had worked in the Krusik factory for decades.

``I spent 47 years building my house, and it was destroyed in seconds,″ Karadarevic said. His wife cursed President Clinton and NATO: ``Shame on them. We free their soldiers, and this is what they do to us.

``I wish I had not gone to the shelter, then I’d be dead,″ she said.

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