A delegation of state officials, consisting of Parliament Speaker Boris Sprem, Defence Minister Ante Kotromanovic and Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff Drago Lovric, on Tuesday laid wreaths in Okucani, some 100 kilometres southeast of Zagreb, as part of a commemoration of the 17th anniversary of the Croatian army and police operation Flash, daily-tportal.hr reports.
Wreaths were also laid by members of Homeland War associations.
Operation Flash began on May 1 and ended on May 3, 1995, involving about 7,200 Croatian soldiers and policemen who regained control of some 500 square kilometres of land in the Western Slavonia region after nearly four years of Serb occupation. Forty-two Croatian personnel were killed and 162 were wounded in the operation.
The liberation of Croatia’s territory continued in August the same year with the military and police operation Storm, and three years later, on January 15, 1998, it was completed with the peaceful reintegration of the Danube River region.
Aftert May 1, 1995, Serbs quickly retaliated against the start of Operation Flash and directed rocket attacks deliberately targeting civilian locations, fired ground-to-ground missiles on the Croatian capital of Zagreb on May 2nd. The attack killed seven and wounded over 200 Croatian civilians. Zagreb was the largest of several cities hit by the attack. It was the only instance in the entire war in Croatia that cluster bombs were used in combat.
A cluster warhead loaded with 288 so-called bomblets was used in the attack. These bomblets were released at a height of 1,000m above densely populated civilian areas during the day, when the people were out on the streets. Upon impact, each bomblet exploded and released 420 steel pellets. Each rocket released around 120,000 pellets in the attack. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) characterized the attack as a crime against humanity and subsequently convicted and jailed two Serb officers: Milan Martic and Momcilo Perisic.
We remember and honour all those who lost their lives and all those brave soldiers who, with Flash, opened the door to full freedom from terrifying Serb occupation and to complete sovereignty of Croatia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps, (Syd)