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Croatians Celebrate 10th Anniversary of Military Victory

Croatians are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the military offensive that ended the Serb occupation of part of their country.

Thousands of Croatians gathered in the town of Knin Friday to mark the event.

Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader told the crowd the offensive, known as "Operation Storm", was a "magnificent liberation" campaign.

He said it must be separated from what he termed "individual criminal acts" against Croatian Serbs.

The anniversary has strained already tense relations within the former Yugoslavia.

Thursday, Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica called Operation Storm the "biggest ethnic cleansing since World War II." Serbian authorities say the offensive killed about 2,000 Serbs.

Croatian troops launched Operation Storm on August 4, 1995 to retake territory seized by minority Serbs opposed to Croatian independence from Yugoslavia. The offensive, which ended a few days later, played a role in some 200,000 Serbs fleeing Croatia.

Some information for this story provided by AFP and Reuters.