German tanks move in as Macedonia shelling resumes

 

German tanks moved from their base in Kosovo to neighboring Macedonia today to protect a German logistics base close to the scene of fighting.

The four Leopard Two battle tanks, Germany's most potent battlefield armor, were brought in overnight to a military camp at Tetovo that the Germans share with the Macedonian army.

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We are prepared to act resolutely...and with heavy equipment
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German Defense Minister Mr Rudolf Scharping

Stray rounds hit the barracks yesterday as Macedonian security forces and ethnic Albanian guerrillas clashed for the third straight day on a hillside 1,000 meters away.

German Defense Minister Mr Rudolf Scharping immediately ordered extra protection and warned that "we are prepared to act resolutely...and with heavy equipment."

NATO is reluctant to be drawn into the fighting in Macedonia, where it has no peacekeeping mandate, and encouraging Macedonian forces to solve the guerrilla problem themselves.

Captain Arne Pollei of the German logistics regiment said yesterday's shooting was "not an attack on us and we were not being targeted." A soldier was slightly cut by flying glass.

A German military spokesman said yesterday that about half the 1,200-member logistics unit was moving back to another location three miles from Tetovo for safety.

The unit is responsible for maintaining the supply chain for the main German peacekeeping force of about 6,000 in Kosovo.