1995 Pale air strikes
|Pale air strikes|
|Part of Operation Deny Flight|
|Commanders and leaders|
While NATO was planning its new strategy, the ceasefire expired, and, as predicted, fighting resumed. As the fighting gradually widened, Bosnian government forces (the ARBiH) launched a large-scale offensive in the area of Sarajevo. In response to the attack, Bosnian Serb forces (the VRS) seized heavy weapons from a UNPROFOR-guarded depot, and began shelling targets. As a retaliation for these actions, the UN commander, Lt. General Rupert Smith requested NATO air strikes. NATO obliged and on 25 and 26 May 1995 bombed a VRS ammunition depot at Pale. The mission was carried out by USAF F-16s and Spanish Air Force EF-18As armed with laser-guided bombs.[a] The Serbs then seized 377 UNPROFOR hostages and used them as human shields for a variety of targets in Bosnia, forcing NATO to end its strikes.
Facing a second hostage crisis, General Smith and other top UN commanders began shifting strategies. The UN began to redeploy its forces to more defensible locations, so that they would be harder to attack or take hostage. More importantly, General Rose established the UN Rapid Reaction Force, a heavily armed unit with more aggressive rules of engagement, designed to take offensive action if necessary to prevent hostage-taking and enforce peace agreements.
- ^ This was the first offensive action carried out by the Spanish Air Force.
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