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NATO bomb removed from Serbian city; 1,300 evacuated

NIS (AFP) – Experts yesterday removed a bomb left over in a southern Serbian city from the 1999 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bombing of the country, prompting the evacuation of more than a thousand residents, officials said.

The 1,000-kilogramme (kg) bomb was successfully removed from a construction site in the neighbourhood of Nis, an interior ministry official said.

“It is being transported to a safe location where it will be destroyed,” official Luka Causic told reporters.

Before the removal of the bomb, 1,300 residents of the area where it was found were evacuated for their safety, he added.

Police, firefighters and medical teams were present to ensure it was transported safely.

The MK-84 bomb has an explosive charge of 430kg, Causic said.

NATO’s bombing of Serbia began on March 24, 1999, without the approval of the United Nations Security Council, and lasted 78 days.

It aimed to end Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic’s bloody crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists in Kosovo.

It was one of the bloodiest incidents during the campaign struck in Nis on May 7, 1999.

More than a dozen people were killed when NATO planes dropped cluster bombs on a crowded central outdoor market. The incident was later described as a “blunder”.

The city was bombed again on May 12 that year with cluster bombs.

A construction site after the removal of an unexploded bomb in Nis, southern Serbia. PHOTO: AFP