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At least nineteen people were killed during a series of NATO air raids on Dubrava prison in the Kosovo town of Istok, which continued late into Friday evening. The NATO air force launched five attacks on it in the course of the day, dropping highly destructive types of bombs. There was one more raid three days ago, which claimed the lives of two prisoners and one warder.
The victims of the Friday raids included three warders, one woman from the auxiliary personnel, and deputy chief of the jail. The others were prisoners. The biggest number of casualties was recorded during the second raid, when a bomb exploded next to a rank of prisoners, who were being marched out of the damaged buildings. The number of casualties may prove to be larger after the investigation is over. There was one more air raid after the ruined prison was visited by journalists. There is still no telephone contact with Istok.
Local analysts are guessing what target-category will be given to the Istok prison at the next NATO briefing in Brussels. Of course, it can be classed as a criminal instrument of the
Belgrade regime", but why destroy it together with its inmates? They can in no way be regarded as allies of the present authorities -- both the ardinary criminals and the men from the Kosovo Liberation Army, who were also serving sentences there. NATO was cursed during the raids both in the Serbian and Albanian languages. The prison could not have been bombed by mistake. More than twenty heavy bombs were dropped on it. The prison stands on a mountain plateau and there are no trees around it, which the army could use as camouflage.
Belgrade rejects as false the NATO assertion that the Thursday air raid on the Dragic Misovic Clinical Centre, one of the biggest in the Yugoslavian capital, was also launched "by mistake". It was established that two, not one, missiles exploded on the territory of the complex, and the third one destroying a nearby gasoline filling station. Three patients and a janitor were killed during the raid on the clinical centre. More than ten patiets, including children, were wounded. Completely ruined or heavily damaged were the children's pulmonary diseases clinic, the gynaecology and ostetrics department, the neurology, surgery, and some other sections. Damaged also were the residences of about ten embassadors, including the Libyan embassy, which are located nearby.
During its Friday meeting, the Serbian government strongly condemned the air raid on the Clinical Centre and described it as a most "inhuman, uncivilised, and criminal act".
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