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Niš cluster bombing

Cluster bombing of Niš
LocationNiš, Serbia, Yugoslavia
Date7 May 1999 , 12 May 1999
TargetNiš Airport
Attack type
Aerial bombing
Deaths14[1] to 16[2]
Injured28 on first atack[1],11 on second atack [3]
Cluster bombs that were dropped by NATO

The cluster bombings of Niš were events that occurred on 7 and 12 May 1999 during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. The first bombing was the most serious event involving civilian deaths and the use of cluster bombs during the NATO campaign in Yugoslavia.[4]

The first bombing

On 7 May 1999, between the time of 11:30 and 11:40, fighter jets of the Royal Netherlands Air Force dropped two containers of cluster bombs over Niš, directed at Niš Airport, located at the end of the city. The bombs missed their target and fell near the city center, which is at least 3km from the airport. The bombs were scattered from the two containers and were carried by the wind and then fell in three locations in the central part of the city:

  • The Pathology building next to the Medical Center of Niš in the south of the city,
  • Next to the building of "Banovina" including the main market, bus station next to the Niš Fortress and "12th February" Health Centre
  • Parking of "Niš Express" near the Nišava River.

A report from Human Rights Watch recorded 14 civilians deaths as a result of the attack, with another 28 injured.[1] Večernje novosti reported 16 civilian deaths.[2]

The second bombing

On 12 May 1999, eastern part of the city was bombed with cluster bombs, resulting in 11 injured people. Many of injuries were amputations. This part of a city , Duvaniste, is more than 7 km from the airport. First victim of that bombing was in 2000., when one man was killed from the bomb that was left unexploded.[5]


After the incident the Royal Netherlands Air Force stopped using cluster bombs in the campaign, but other NATO members continued to use them.

Today, hundreds of unexploded cluster munitions can still be found in the Serbian countryside, despite efforts by the Serbian government to clear all sites of such munitions.[6]


  1. ^ a b c "Civilian Deaths in the NATO Air Campaign - The Crisis in Kosovo". Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  2. ^ a b D. Stojanović (7 May 2015). "Novosti: Suze za 16 žrtava kasetnih bombi" (in Serbian). Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Destroyed cluster bomb from 1999". 4 April 2008. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  4. ^ Civilian Deaths in the NATO Air Campaign
  5. ^ "Yellow killers" (PDF). Norwegian people's aid.
  6. ^ "РТС: Ниш чисти касетне бомбе" (in Serbian). 24 May 2009. Retrieved 16 February 2012.