Serbs battle to retake coal mine held by Kosovo rebels

BELACEVAC, Yugoslavia (AP) — Serb security forces recaptured a coal mine that provides power to Kosovo in a withering offensive against rebels Tuesday that sent thousands of villagers streaming into the woods west of the capital.
The Serb-led Yugoslav army and Serb police took the Belacevac open-pit mine near the end of a second day of pulverizing attacks on an area that the ethnic Albanians’ Kosovo Liberation Army had taken last week.
Throughout the day Tuesday, Serb tanks rolled up to the edge of a ridge overlooking Belacevac, fired into the village, then rapidly disappeared. Police snipers, cannons and mortars — well-camouflaged in the lush green surrounding hills — all fired on the KLA-held area.
After a bombardment that lasted for more than 24 hours, Serb forces finally retook the mine and villages around it after the KLA fled.
The Albanians’ Kosovo Information Center said three Albanians were killed Monday in fighting around Belacevac.
Eight Albanian militants were killed Tuesday after they attacked a Yugoslav army border patrol near the southwestern town of Djakovica, the Serbian Media Center said.
In a separate report, Amnesty International said civilians have been displaced, tortured and killed. About 70,000 people have fled their homes — about 45,000 to other parts of Kosovo, 13,000 to the neighboring Yugoslav republic of Montenegro, and another 13,000 to northern Albania.