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Germany Deploys Field Hospital in Croatia

July 31, 1995 GMT

SPLIT, Croatia (AP) _ Germany began setting up an army field hospital in Croatia on Monday as part of the first combat-related deployment of German troops since World War II.

About 500 medics, nurses, technicians and guards arrived aboard the freighter Germania to set up a 50-bed mobile surgical hospital near this Adriatic port, a hub of the multinational U.N. rapid reaction force for Bosnia. An advance party of about 120 German soldiers flew into Split last weekend.

German forces are not expected to be deployed within neighboring Bosnia because of ill-feeling over Nazi atrocities committed during World War II, when Adolf Hitler backed a Croatian puppet state.

Instead, German medics will treat any casualties among the 12,000-strong British, French and Dutch troops of the rapid reaction force being deployed to protect U.N. peacekeepers within Bosnia.

Col. Hans-Heinrich Dieter said he expects the hospital, in the naval base of Trogir, 15 miles south of Split, to be operational within days. French doctors also will use it to treat French soldiers.

Germany has already sent 14 Tornado fighter-bombers to a base in northern Italy to back up any NATO missions over Bosnia.