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Balkan War Rips Into Croat Capital

Serb cluster bombs strike Zagreb again

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'HE was picking up his wife,'' Andrew Hundic says, as he stands in front of the shrapnel-pocked front of his clothing store. ''The projectile went through the windshield and exploded inside his car. We went outside to help him, but he was dead.''

The capital city had been sheltered from the violence that has beset the former Yugoslavia. Now it is reeling in shock, confusion, and anger. A half-dozen Croatian Serb rockets killed five and wounded 121 here Tuesday, prompting calls for revenge. At least three more rockets landed here yesterday, killing one and wounding 43. Some were ballet dancers at the arts academy.

Croatian President Franjo Tudjman announced Tuesday that a Croatian offensive on a rebel Serb-controlled highway had ended. But Western diplomats say the retaliatory cluster-bomb attacks on Zagreb are pressuring him to renew fighting and risk igniting an all-out Balkan war.

''It's obvious that the only purpose of dropping one of these in the center of a European city is to kill as many people as possible,'' says Peter Galbraith, US ambassador to Croatia. ''You've had an attack on your capital city, in the center of it. It's very, very hard to resist [responding].''

Across the city, eyewitnesses described panicked rescue attempts and an overwhelming disbelief that the attacks had taken place. Hundreds of residents toured the devastated areas, touching the dozens of small craters left by the cluster bombs and staring in disbelief at the damage.

The carnage was worst in the area around Mr. Hundic's store on Vlaska street. Three people died and dozens were wounded on the busy commercial strip filled with a mix of posh new clothing stores, small shops, and restaurants.

Police said a rocket hit the upper floors of a large building in the area midmorning Tuesday. The generally inaccurate rocket -- a Soviet-built Orkan model with a 30-mile range -- released dozens of smaller shrapnel-filled cluster bombs before impact.


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