Hundreds of explosions rocked Bosnia’s besieged capital Wednesday, and heavy smoke from a second day of bitter fighting enveloped battle lines to the south.
The shelling sharply curtailed the U.N. mission around Sarajevo. Two peacekeepers were wounded, and a U.N. cargo plane turned back in midflight after fighting closed the airport.
Fighting also raged in northern Bosnia and in the west, where the United Nations reported gains by government forces.
Shelling of front lines and the city’s outskirts Wednesday morning escalated into a major battle between government and Serb troops. Hundreds of shells were fired in and out of the city.
At least 13 people were wounded, including two peacekeepers, one Russian and one French, and five government soldiers.
NATO fighters swooped low over the capital in response to a call by U.N. commanders for a show of force. But the jets failed to deter the fighting.
NATO threats of air strikes forced heavy weapons from the immediate perimeter of Sarajevo in February 1994. But the 12.5-mile “exclusion zone” has been increasingly ignored as the threat of NATO strikes recedes.
The widespread fighting underlined U.N. concerns that its dual mission - peacekeeping and providing aid for hundreds of thousands of people across Bosnia - was becoming more and more untenable. It also further clouded hopes of a political settlement of the 3-year-old conflict.