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SERB-CROAT FORCE ATTACKS STRATEGIC MUSLIM-HELD TOWN

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A combined Serb-Croat force rained artillery fire Monday on Maglaj, an important town defending one of the last areas held by the Muslim-led government in north-central Bosnia.

U.N. officials reported a second day of fighting around the town, where the combatants fought fiercely at close range Sunday. Government radio said the town was under constant tank, mortar and howitzer fire."Maglaj is literally burning and the ground is shaking from detonations," Bosnian radio reporter Hajrudin Fermic said in a previous report from the town via ham radio Sunday. "The picture of plundered houses on fire now is horrible."

The attack on the town of 30,000 appeared aimed at gaining land and linking it with areas under Serb and Croat control. Maglaj forms the northern tip of a strategic triangle - including Zepce and Zavidovici - that controls access to some of the last major government-held towns in central Bosnia.

Croat-Muslim battles were reported around Jablanica, west of Sarajevo, and near Mostar, a city in southwestern Bosnia. Fighting also was reported from the eastern enclave of Gorazde, which is besieged by Serb troops.

Government forces continued a blockade of a U.N. base in Visoko, just northwest of Sarajevo, demanding that peacekeepers hand over for trial on war crimes charges a Croat commander who has been at the base since Thursday.

In retaliation for Sunday's blockade, Croat forces cut off two U.N. bases, one in Kiseljak, west of Sarajevo, and one north of Kiselajk. But the Kiseljak blockade was lifted late Sunday, a U.N. spokesman, Maj. Jose Gallegos, said in Sarajevo.