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Vreme čitanja: oko 2 min.

NATO missile killed two boys in Ralja 23 years ago: They were found under rubble, cramped on a bed


Vreme čitanja: oko 2 min.

Biljana Momcilovic, who was staying in her parent's house with her son, also lost her life in the attack

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On this day in 1999, the village of Ralja, near Belgrade, a huge tragedy happened when NATO fired four missiles at a Yugoslav Army warehouse. One of those missed the target by 500 meters and wiped out the home of the Pavlovic family. A couple and their two children were inside at the time.

In the neighboring house belonging to Dragutin Ivanovic, about ten meters away, were Ivanovic's wife, daughter and grandson.

The Pavlovic children were killed instantly, while their father Vladimir died later from his injuries.

Vladimir's wife was also left under the rubble.

"I saw the woman, her right leg was bent under her spine. I approached and tried to straighten her leg, but nothing. Her hands were under her, I also couldn't pull them out. I saw that she was suffocating, there was a rubble in her mouth, so I took that out and she started breathing. Then the army came, the neighbors... That's when we pulled the beams off her with tractors. We found the children on a bed, in a cramped position, both dead. Vlada (Vladimir) passed away in Belgrade, she remained," neighbor Milan Sutara told RTS.

The Pavlovic family had come to Ralja from Belgrade that same day. They thought they were safer there, but fate wanted otherwise.

"Vlada, he was crying for help, he was asking me, 'Where are my children?' He was naked and burned all over," said Sutara.

The Ivanovic family also experienced a tragedy.

"I pulled my grandson Nikola out, and this little Simic took him to the doctors in Ralja. I pulled the wife out with another man, she was buried up to her shoulders. She now has a bar in her right leg, ever since that bombing, and she went blind. After about ten minutes, as I was running over that (the rubble), I saw my late daughter's hands on the couch," said Dragutin Ivanovic, the father of Biljana Momcilovic, who was also killed in the strike.

"A man helped me, she was completely buried and a hole was visible on her forehead."

"He said, 'Come, Boris, our Biljana is gone, she has been killled," recounts neighbor Boris Simic.

Dragutin's grandson Nikola was saved from certain death thanks to a closet full of bedding.

"When she left me, if she had only lain down next to the child on the bed, if only she had been next to him, she would have survived. But it seems it wasn't meant to be that way," Biljana's father added with sadness in his eyes.


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