Twelve Die As NATO hits Passenger Train

Leskovac, April 12 (South News) -  NATO's terror over civilians has reached a new high today when the international passenger train No. 393, travelling from Belgrade to Thessalonika, Greece, was bombed.

At least 12 people were killed and scores of others hospitalized, the Tanjug news agency has reported. The train carried both domestic and international passengers, but the identities of the dead and injured are now known at this time.

The train was attacked while on the Grdelica Canyon bridge. The second car took a direct hit and was thrown off the tracks into the canyon, while other cars were badly damaged.

NATO planes attacked passenger train on the route Belgrade-Salonika at about 11:49 a.m. Monday, torching three coaches and knocking them off a bridge.

Leskovac Railway Station chief Radonja Pantic said the NATO missile had hit the second coach, destroying it completely. The train left Leskovac, southern Serbia, at 11:25 a.m., the station chief said, adding the train was hit while crossing the Bistrica Bridge in Grdelicka Klisura gorge.

Railway traffic is interrupted, as are telephone lines.

The missile, which hit shortly before noon local time, cut the train in two, turning two cars into smoldering wrecks and damaging two others. Rescue workers told reporters they had pulled nine burned bodies out of the wreckage and found another corpse in a nearby river. They said they were still searching for others.

A railway official said a young girl was among the dead, some of whom were dismembered or burned beyond recognition. Sixteen people were taken to hospital, most to the nearby town of Leskovac, around 155 miles southeast of Belgrade. One of them was in a serious condition.

``Show this to (President) Clinton,'' said one angry onlooker, pointing at burned clothes and human remains.

``What will NATO's explanation be now? Or have they now switched to civilian targets only,'' he said, his voice shaking.

``I wish people in the countries which sent us these missiles would suffer the same thing,'' said Svetolik Kostadinovic, head of Yugoslav Railways, told reporters at the scene.

``I wish they could feel like we feel now standing here and watching this and inhaling the smell of burned human flesh.''

The train had not completely left a bridge over the Juzna Morava River when an electricity cable supplying it was cut by a missile fired from a NATO plane at a road bridge over the track, said an official from the Yugoslav Army's press center. ``The plane then returned and hit the train,'' he said.

The missile hit the part of the train which had not yet left the rail bridge, which was damaged but still standing. The nearby road bridge had a gaping hole in it.

``They have been targeting these bridges since the bombing started,'' said Ninoslav Milenkovic, a local resident. He said NATO had been trying to target the bridge on four occasions overnight.

The blast of at least three to four bombs or missiles shattered the windows of nearby houses. No casualties were reported there.

State media said the train was on an international route to Greece, but a railway official in Belgrade told Reuters that for several months the train service had only gone as far as the border with the neighboring former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia.