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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

NATO Calls Attack Work of 'Terrorist'

SARAJEVO -- NATO's cautious response to a lethal Serb grenade attack in Sarajevo angered Bosnians who cast doubt on alliance peacekeeping Wednesday, while Serbs dug up their dead before evacuating the city.


An anti-tank rocket which hit a tram on Tuesday, killing a middle-aged woman and wounding six people, reawakened the Bosnian capital's siege mentality.


NATO commander Admiral Leighton Smith said Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic promised him at a meeting in Belgrade to try to prevent further attacks. "The president agrees with me 100 percent that this was a heinous act, an act of a terrorist, an act of an individual who himself or herself was trying to do damage to the [Bosnian] peace agreement," Smith told reporters.


The attack appeared to rule out any visit to Sarajevo at the weekend by U.S. President Bill Clinton when he inspects U.S. troops serving with the NATO Implementation Force in north Bosnia, Croatia and Hungary.


The tram attack revived the war psychosis which gripped Sarajevo under 3 1/2 years of siege by the Bosnian Serbs but waned under a cease-fire begun last October.


Trams continued to trundle past the spot on Sniper Alley where the attack happened but people hurried through the streets fearfully on Wednesday.


The grenade was fired from a tower block -- a known snipers' nest -- in the Grbavica district which Sarajevo Serbs are about to return to the control of the Moslem-led government under the Bosnian peace agreement. French NATO troops returned fire and later searched the building but found no trace of the assailant.


NATO's rogue gunmen theory did not convince everyone in Sarajevo where the government accused the Serbs, angry at the loss of their districts of Sarajevo, of trying deliberately to torpedo the peace agreement.


Bosnian Serb leaders gave NATO until Wednesday to delay the handover until September although the alliance's military commanders warned they had no authority to change the deal.


Once the deadline elapses, the Sarajevo Serbs have threatened a chaotic exodus from the city, burning their homes behind them. They could start to flee by Friday.


Families in the suburb of Ilidza dug up their dead on Wednesday in order to bury them in new graves which they can visit freely in Bosnian Serb territory. Gravediggers expected to carry out three exhumations a day of Serbs, including soldiers who died during the siege.