War in the Balkans: Missile kills four in hospital

Air Strikes
A NATO missile reduced a hospital ward almost to rubble early yesterday and, according to medical staff, killed four patients and injured a number of people.

Journalists who were allowed to visit Dr Dragisa Misovic hospital in Belgrade's affluent Dedinje area, said one missile appeared to have hit the neurological ward and another landed beside it, destroying a side wall and leaving a crater, which was filling up with leaking sewage.

Nato said one of seven laser-guided bombs went astray and hit a building 500 yards from the target, a military barracks, but had no details about the type of building hit.

"Unfortunately, we have to confirm that four patients were killed and health workers were injured," said Dr Moma Jakovljevic, head of the neurological ward.

The maternity and gynaecological sections were also damaged, with only a few windows remaining intact. Newly born babies and pregnant women were transferred. One child was slightly injured.

"They [Nato] probably thought soldiers were being treated in the maternity ward," said Marija Simonovic, 65, who came to inspect the damage. "I'm not saying it was done deliberately, but it's shameful how ignorant, arrogant and careless their behaviour has become," she added.

Hospital beds could be seen hanging out of huge holes in the walls. Others were scattered across a park, apparently thrown out by the blast. A large Red Cross flag clearly marking the building was still fluttering from its roof. (Reuters)