Cluster bombing of Niš

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Cluster bombing of Niš
Location Niš, Serbia, Yugoslavia
Date 7 May 1999
Target Niš Airport
Attack type
Aerial bombing
Deaths 15
Non-fatal injuries
Perpetrators NATO
Cluster bombs that were dropped by NATO

The Cluster bombing of Niš was an event that occurred on 7 May 1999 during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. It was the most serious incident involving civilian deaths and the use of cluster bombs.[1] The cluster bombs had been dropped by Dutch F-16s.[2]


On 7 May 1999, between the time of 11:30 and 11:40, a NATO attack was carried out with two containers of cluster bombs directed at Niš Airport, located at the end of the city. The bombs missed their target and fell near the city center. 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 stated that 15 civilians were killed, with another 28 injured.[3]


After the incident the Dutch Air Force stopped using cluster bombs in the campaign, whereas the other NATO members kept using them.

Today, hundreds of unexploded cluster munitions can still be found in the Serbian countryside, despite the best efforts of the Serbian government to clear all of the sites of such munitions.[4]