On 1st May 1995 Croatian police and military forces embarked upon the swift operation called "Flash" to liberate the occupied territory of western Slavonia. In only 31 hours around 500 square kilometres of Croatian territory, then occupied by the Serb aggressor, was liberated alongside the Zagreb-Lipovac motorway. Operation "Flash" began on 1st May at 5.30 a.m. and ended on 2nd May in the afternoon hours. The operation was preceded by a terrorist action undertaken by rebel Croatian Serbs on passengers travelling along the Zagreb-Lipovac motorway.
Some 7,200 Croatian soldiers and policemen took part in operation "Flash". 42 died and 162 were wounded whilst liberating western Slavonia. During the operation the Serbs also shot down the airplane carrying Rudolf Perišin, the pilot who flew into Austria with his MIG-21 during the strongest attacks on Croatia in 1991. Some 5,500 rebel Serbs attempted to ward off the Croatian forces by placing their hopes in the XVIII Corpus, the so-called Krajina Serb army. However, the corpus was crushed and most of its members sought refuge in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina. Serb losses were estimated at around 350 - 450 killed and 1,000 - 1,200 wounded.
In the attempt to raise the moral of the defeated rebel Serb forces the war criminal Mile Martić boasted he had sought revenge by personally ordering the shelling of Zagreb, Sisak and Karlovac on 2nd and 3rd May, a criminal act which killed and wounded many. Operation "Flash" and victory over rebel Croatian Serb forces helped the Republic of Croatia prove that it had armed forces capable of liberating occupied regions of Croatian territory. Members of the Croatian army and police showed high professionalism, which was also confirmed by individual foreign diplomats during their tour of the liberated regions.
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