Peace prospects brightened Saturday when Serbia reportedly accepted a European Community truce plan for Croatia, but federal and Croatian forces exchanged gunfire at Zagreb airport.

The 12-nation European Community said last week that if a cease-fire doesn't take effect by Sunday, the trade bloc would take unspecified action against Serbia, the nation's largest republic.The clash erupted at the airport in the Croatian capital when the federal military forced two foreign commercial jets to land, one of them reportedly carrying weapons.

A Croatian government official, insisting on anonymity, said it appeared some Croatian police died or were hurt when their vehicle was hit by a tank or artillery fire. But specifics on casualties were unavailable.

The outbreak of violence came despite improved chances for peace in a report that Serbia, the Communist rival to Croatia, had accepted the EC peace plan.

The Yugoslav news agency Tanjug quoted Serbian Foreign Minister Vladimir Jovanovic as saying, "Serbia was accepting the latest EC declaration."

The federal and Croatian governments had already come out in support of the plan, which calls for a cease-fire, followed by a peace conference and foreign cease-fire monitors.

Croatia declared independence in tandem with Slovenia on June 25 after Yugoslav leaders refused their demand that the national federation be transformed into a loose association of sovereign states.

The fighting in Croatia has largely involved Croatian militias and ethnic Serbs in the republic. Ethnic Serbs, who make up 12 percent of Croatia's 4.75 million people, say they want to remain part of Yugoslavia.

The Serbian-dominated federal army has become increasingly involved in the fighting, saying it acts only in self-defense while trying to disengage the warring parties. But critics have accused it of siding with Serb militants.

The clash at the airport in Zagreb occurred as the federal military forced planes from Ugandan Airlines and Romania's Tarom airlines to land on suspicions of gun-running, Tan-jug said.

The Romanian plane, which had 20 people aboard, did not carry arms, Tanjug said. But the news agency quoted a federal military statement as saying 19 tons of rifles and ammunition destined for Slovenia were found on the Ugandan plane.

Tanjug didn't say how many people were on board the Ugandan plane.