1,300 people evacuated as 1999 NATO bomb removed from Serbian city

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Experts on Sunday removed a bomb left over in a southern Serbian city from the 1999 NATO bombing of the country, prompting the evacuation of more than a thousand residents, officials said.

The 1,000-kilo (2,200-pound) bomb was successfully removed from a construction site in the neighborhood of Nis, an interior ministry official said.

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“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 430 kilograms, Causic said.

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

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

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, leading to the deaths of 11 civilians.

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