Nato jets hit Bosnian Serb tank

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NATO aircraft attacked Bosnian Serb forces yesterday for the fourth time this year, destroying a tank west of Sarajevo. The US Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, warned of more air strikes if Bosnian Serbs violate exclusion zones in Bosnia or attack UN peace-keepers.

British and United States aircraft went into action after the Bosnian Serbs fired on United Nations peacekeeping forces in the Sarajevo area and wounded four soldiers. A US A-10 attack jet strafed the tank and two RAF Jaguars dropped bombs on it.

The air strikes appeared designed to keep up pressure on the Bosnian Serbs to reverse their rejection of a peace plan that would divide Bosnia between the Serbs and a Muslim- Croat federation. If the Serbs do not accept the plan by 15 October, the US has said it will ask the UN Security Council to lift its arms embargo on the Muslim-led Bosnian government.

The Nato attack was prompted by two incidents. In the first, Bosnian Serbs fired a rifle-launched grenade at a French vehicle as it was observing a skirmish between the Serbs and Muslim-led forces defending Sarajevo. One French soldier was wounded. In the second, the Bosnian Serbs fired a 20mm anti-aircraft gun at a UN patrol in the suburb of Butmir, and wounded another French soldier in an attack near by.

The Bosnian Serb army told the Yugoslav news agency Tanjug last night that the Nato air strike was directed against civilians around the village of Dobrosevici. The army statement promised to avenge what it called an unprovoked attack. 'Because of the ever-more frequent attacks of Nato and Unprofor (United Nations Protection Forces), we are now forced to reply in an adequate manner against targets that we will soon decide upon.'