Serb and rebel Muslim forces resumed their push against army troops in a key corner of Bosnia Monday, with both sides claiming some successes.
Serbs from Bosnia and neighboring Croatia have linked up with a rebel Muslim force in the northwest Bihac pocket to fight the Bosnian army 5th Corps."Our forces have managed to crush the Muslim troops and they now have no place to maneuver," said Gen. Manojlo Milovanovic, Bosnian Serb army chief of staff and commander of the Bihac campaign.
"We are strangling the 5th Corps, and if it tries to get out, we will follow it wherever necessary," he told the Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA.
One government town in the region, Velika Kladusa, has been reported to be close to falling. Bosnian radio, however, reported Monday that government forces captured a neighboring village, Trnovi, and strengthened their ability to hold out.
U.N spokesman Maj. Herve Gourmelon reported heavy machine-gun and small-arms fire Sunday night and early Monday and more than 100 artillery and mortar impacts on Bihac and Velika Kladusa.
Bosnian Serbs freed 53 U.N. peacekeepers on Sunday but continued to hold 349 more as insurance against NATO airstrikes.
Bosnian Serbs "deserve nothing but contempt" for holding up humanitarian aid to besieged government-held territories, said U.N. spokesman Thant Myint-U.