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Bosnia Combat Resumes After Lull Offensive By Muslim-Led Government Showed Gains Before Week Of Snow

Balmy spring weather sparked a return to all-out combat Tuesday along a broad battlefront in northeast Bosnia.

Reports from the warring sides and from U.N. military observers indicated fighting in the Majevica mountains near the city of Tuzla reached its most intense level since the Muslim-led government launched an offensive March 20.

Government radio said Bosnian Serb rebels fired more than 2,000 mortar and artillery rounds at government positions. Fierce fighting was reported around a strategic Serb-held communications tower that government troops almost captured last month.

The Serb news agency SRNA said Serb forces held their lines against “high intensity” attacks on the TV tower and inflicted heavy casualties on government forces.

The renewed fighting came after a week’s lull due to heavy snow. U.N. observers, whose movements are restricted, said there were no signs of major changes in the front lines following last week’s government advances.

Maj. Herve Gourmelon, a peacekeeper spokesman, also reported fighting around Mount Vlasic in central Bosnia.

Government gains on each front two weeks ago prompted threats of Serb counterattacks and provoked Serb shelling of civilian areas in several towns.

The government says it won’t halt its offensives until the Serbs accept an international peace plan that would reduce their share of Bosnia from the 70 percent they control to 49 percent.

Tags: war