WRITER, PRISTINA, Yugoslavia

   Los Angeles Times April 17, 1999,

   The small craters and mysterious
   fin-shaped pieces of metal found next to
   civilian vehicles attacked in Kosovo
   suggest that they may have been hit by
   U.S. cluster bombs designed to destroy
   tanks. Similar evidence has been found at
   several bomb sites over the past four days,
   including two roads on which tractors
   pulling wagonloads of Kosovo Albanian
   refugees were destroyed during NATO
   airstrikes Wednesday.

   The intact bomb remnants, shaped like
   single fins about two feet long with a
   one-inch hole at one end, are stamped in
   two places with the name ALCOA,
   suggesting that the U.S. aluminum
   company made them. The bomb remnants,
   small impact craters and at least one
   survivor's description of "explosions coming
   from the air" do not jibe with a 1,000-pound
   laser-guided bomb that the Pentagon said
   was dropped near the village of Meja on
   Wednesday, British weapons expert Nick
   Cook said.

   NATO has suggested that Yugoslav forces
   attacked the refugees for their own
   propaganda purposes, but so far NATO
   has not provided any evidence to support
   that contention.

   While stressing that he can't be certain
   without seeing the bomb remnants himself,
   Cook said the description of the fin and
   small craters was consistent with several
   types of cluster bomb. U.S. F-16s and B-1
   bombers have been dropping cluster
   munitions in Kosovo, but the specific
   models are not known.

   One type of cluster bomb, which the
   Pentagon reportedly wanted to use in the
   air war over Yugoslavia, is a high-tech,
   heat-seeking bomb that hasn't been used
   before in combat, experts said in
   Washington and London.

   "It is meant to be quite 'intelligent,' "
   because there is a device "which actually
   gives it an aim point on the tank to provide
   'greater lethality,' " Cook, the editor of
   Jane's Defense Weekly, said in an
   interview from London.

   "You'd think it should be able to determine
   a tank between a tractor, but in practice,
   these things tend to get a little bit blurred."
   A bomb half that size would blast a crater
   3 feet deep and 20 feet across, NATO
   Brig. Gen. Giuseppe Morani told reporters
   in Brussels. The roadside craters seen at
   several sites across Kosovo this week are
   usually only inches deep and a few yards
   across but pack a powerful shock wave
   that throws hunks of jagged shrapnel
   dozens of yards. "The circumstantial
   evidence points to some kind of cluster
   bomb," said a U.S. defense expert in
   Washington, who spoke on condition he not
   be named.

   The refugees, at least six of whom were
   badly burned, may have been the victims of
   the debut of U.S.-made CBU-97 cluster
   bombs, guided by infrared sensors and built
   to spray super-hot shrapnel into tanks,
   Cook suggested.

   But without more evidence--or information
   from the Pentagon--"it's still a mystery," he

   Jane's reported earlier this month that the
   Pentagon expected to use the CBU-97
   cluster bombs, known as sensor-fused
   weapons, for the first time in the air war
   over Kosovo to destroy Yugoslav armor.

   They could be mounted on several aircraft,
   including F-16s, at least two of which were
   involved in the accidental attacks on
   convoys west and southeast of Djakovica
   on Wednesday, by the Pentagon's official

   At least two of the fin-shaped bomb
   remnants were found in craters near
   tractors that were struck in Meja, about
   three miles due west of Djakovica, in
   southwestern Kosovo.

   Another fin lay in a similar crater, about 3
   yards long, beside destroyed tractors and
   refugee wagons about nine miles away,
   east of Djakovica.

   The same parts were found Monday beside
   civilian cars destroyed on a main road in
   Pristina, Kosovo's capital, and in the village
   of Merdare, on Kosovo's administrative
   border with Serbia proper, the previous
   day. Kosovo is a province of Serbia, the
   dominant Yugoslav republic.

   The Pentagon insists that pilots only fired
   on military targets east of Djakovica.
   Survivors of airstrikes in at least three
   spots along a 12-mile stretch of the
   two-lane road said jets attacked them
   several times.

   Some of the refugees also said they heard
   explosions overhead, which experts said is
   also consistent with cluster bombs because
   the smaller bomblets drop after a falling
   canister detonates.

   Cluster bombs are designed to hit several
   targets at once, such as tanks crossing a
   battlefield, and can carry different numbers
   of bomblets depending on their size.

   Each CBU-97 dispenses 10 smaller
   devices that in turn drop four bomblets
   each. They find their targets with infrared
   sensors that detect the heat of an engine.

   "It's certainly a possibility" that the
   sensor-fused bomblets could drift as they
   fell, because they search for running
   engines and could strike targets at different
   spots on the same road, the Washington
   expert said.

   CBU-97 cluster bombs also have fins, he
   added. The British military has confirmed
   that its warplanes are dropping more
   conventional cluster bombs in the NATO
   airstrikes on Yugoslavia, but only when
   pilots are "extremely confident there are no
   civilians around," Cook said.

   The Yugoslav air force is also known to
   have British-made cluster bombs in its
   arsenal, but the ALCOA stamp on the
   bomb pieces found at several sites in
   Kosovo leave little doubt they were
   American-made, Cook added.

   Under the name ALCOA on the metal fin,
   the number 2 was followed by B24. Less
   than an inch away, there was what
   appeared to be a serial number: 8377401,
   followed by ALCOA 7075 and then the
   number 961. The possibility that Yugoslav
   air force jets may have also bombed the
   refugee column shouldn't be discounted
   because one could slip underneath a
   NATO jet flying at 15,000 feet, Cook said.

   That is the "hard ceiling" at which NATO
   pilots are supposed to fly to cut the risk of
   being shot down, but the height of flight
   also makes it easier to hit the wrong target.

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