ACCESSION NUMBER:356013 FILE ID:POL508 DATE:08/05/94 TITLE:NATO STRIKES BOSNIAN SERB TARGET FOLLOWING VIOLATIONS (08/05/94) TEXT:*94080508.POL NATO STRIKES BOSNIAN SERB TARGET FOLLOWING VIOLATIONS (Defense official says additional targets preapproved) (550) By Jacquelyn S. Porth USIA Security Affairs Correspondent Washington -- Sixteen NATO aircraft attacked Bosnian Serb targets in Sarajevo August 5, destroying a self-propelled anti-tank weapon in the heavy weapon total exclusion zone. Marine Lieutenant General John Sheehan, director for operations for the staff of the Joint Chiefs, said the NATO air strike was authorized following an increase in the level of violence in Bosnia. On August 3, he said, United Nations Protection Forces (UNPROFOR) rebuffed an effort by the Bosnian Serbs to break into an UNPROFOR weapons collection area. Sheehan, who briefed reporters at the Pentagon late August 5, said the U.N. special representative to Bosnia, Yasushi Akashi, "preapproved" a NATO air support following that incident. Ukrainian forces serving with UNPROFOR next witnessed Bosnian Serbs return in pre-dawn hours August 5 to steal two armored personnel carriers, a T-52 main battle tank, and a 76mm self-propelled gun from Ilidza some 15 kilometers south of Sarajevo. A Puma helicopter dispatched to visually track the equipment turned back when Bosnian Serb ground fired opened up on it. NATO authorities then identified "a series of targets" which were approved by UNPROFOR. Four U.S. A-10 Warthogs, four Dutch F-16s Falcons, four French F-1 Mirages, and four British Jaguars were sent to destroy those targets, bad weather and incomplete intelligence hampered their efforts. Two of the U.S. A-10s struck a Bosnian Serb anti-tank gun with 600 rounds of ammunition and reported it destroyed, but Sheehan said NATO is waiting independent confirmation that the vehicle was destroyed. While some ground-to-air fire was reported by the NATO pilots, Sheehan said no aircraft damage was reported. Meanwhile, he said the Bosnian Serb Army passed word that it would return the stolen weapons and UNPROFOR signalled NATO to call off the rest of the operation. The briefer cautioned however that the set of targets, which were preapproved, "is still active in the sense that they are still available should they be required." Later, a senior Defense Department described the "target set" selected by NATO as "proportional to what was taken" by the Bosnian Serbs. Asked to justify the strike, the official said it was in response to "increased violence in the Sarajevo area," including the second violation of the UNPROFOR weapons storage area by the Bosnian Serbs. The commander of the Allied Forces in Southern Europe, Admiral Leighton Smith, told reporters in Naples August 5 that additional NATO aircraft remain on "alert status" should they be needed. He expressed hope that once the stolen weapons are returned to UNPROFOR in Bosnia that tensions will diminish and the situation will return to normal. In particular, he 1aid he hopes there will be a reduction of sniper activity. Smith, whose remarks were communicated into the Pentagon, noted that the aircraft carrier, USS George Washington, would be in the area on August 6. The humanitarian airlift into Sarajevo, which had just resumed after a two week suspension, was suspended again following the NATO air strike. The last NATO action in Bosnia occurred on April 10-11 when NATO aircraft attacked targets in the Gorazde area after U.N. personnel requested air protection. NNNN .