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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

UN Chief Turns Down Air-Strike Request

SARAJEVO -- NATO requested permission for its warplanes to attack a rebel Serb airfield, but the top UN official in former Yugoslavia suggested Thursday the alliance had stepped out of line in doing so.

NATO's request came late Tuesday, after its aircraft patrolling a flight ban over Bosnia spotted two planes near Banja Luka. The planes disappeared from radar screens apparently after they had landed.

While NATO patrols the airspace, it must get permission from the United Nations to actually conduct airstrikes on the ground.

Admiral Leighton Smith, the NATO commander in charge of the overflights, requested permission, but was turned down by the UN commander for former Yugoslavia, French Lieutenant General Bernard Janvier.

Janvier "saw no reason to do it,'' said top UN official Yasushi Akashi. Akashi cited the UN Security Council resolution establishing the no-fly zone.