Victims of Operation Flash on Both Sides Commemorated

By 2 May 2019

ZAGREB, May 2, 2019 - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović told reporters on Wednesday in Okučani at a ceremony marking the 24th anniversary of a combined military and police offensive, known as Operation Flash, which ended nearly four years of Serb occupation of the Western Slavonia region, that Operation Flash had finally liberated Croatian territory and enabled the reintegration of the entire Croatia.

"Today with special reverence and dignity we are marking the military and police Operation Flash which launched the final liberation of Croatian territory and reintegration of the entire Croatia," said the president. She expressed deep sympathy for the families of those killed and missing.

Asked to comment on the 22 Serb victims who were killed in Medari during Operation Flash, the president said: "We mourn every victim and all victims deserve commemoration, regardless of their nationality."

Also present was Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković who said Croatia commemorated all those who died during Operation Storm.

The ceremony in Okučani was also attended Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, Interior Minister Dražen Božinović, Veterans Minister Tomo Medved and other top officials.

The operation was launched on May 1 and ended on May 3, 1995. During less than 32 hours, Croatian troops and police regained control of 500 square kilometres of land, including the main west-east motorway and the railway line leading to Eastern Slavonia.

About 7,200 troops and police officers took part in the liberation of Western Slavonia, of whom 42 were killed and 162 wounded. It was the first time during the 1991-1995 Homeland War that the Croatian Air Force had used airstrikes on a larger scale, and the enemy was further surprised by tanks that were brought in by rail and deployed in combat.

Okučani is located about 130 kilometres southeast of Zagreb. During the war it was the centre of the Serb rebellion and a staging area for terrorist attacks in Western Slavonia.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković visited Okučani on Tuesday on the eve of the 24th anniversary of Operation Flash.

Serb Orthodox priest Dragan Antonić officiated a religious ceremony in Okučani on Wednesday after which Independent Democratic Serb Party vice president Boris Milošević told the press he had come to Okučani to remember the victims and senselessness of the war.

Although announced, SDSS president Milorad Pupovac did not attend the event.

Asked about the message from Okušani, Milošević said this was exclusively a religious event.

After the religious ceremony, a prayer was held in Medari to commemorate the 22 Serb civilians killed in Operation Flash.

More news about the Homeland War can be found in the Politics section.