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Muslims gaining on Serbs

The shoe is on the other foot in Bosnia these days.

Sunday saw Bosnian Serbs evacuating civilians from a Muslim-besieged northwestern town and Muslim-led government troops _ for a second straight day _ capturing positions in the mountains near Sarajevo from the better-armed Serbs.

In the northwest, at least 10,000 Serb civilians have fled their homes as government forces captured about 100 square miles over the past week, their biggest victory of the war.

U.N. officials said government troops have encircled Bosanska Krupa, 110 miles northwest of Sarajevo. With a prewar population of about 20,000, the town would be by far the biggest lost by the Serbs in Bosnia's 31-month war.

"It seems the Bosnian Serbs are having difficulties in putting together a new defense line," said U.N. spokesman Michael Williams.

Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, visiting the refugee-clogged town of Bosanski Petrovac, announced plans for a counterattack within the next few days.

Civil defense officials Sunday were already going door-to-door advising Sarajevo residents to stay indoors in case the Serbs _ after a nine-month lull _ renew bombardment of the capital.

The nearby town of Hrasnica, a mainly Muslim residential suburb, was the target of a second day of heavy shelling. Late Sunday, Reuters was reporting one civilian was killed and 14 wounded.

A television crew said shells landed on the district's morgue and at a crowded intersection where people were waiting for buses.

"Our enemy wants war, and he shall have it," Karadzic told a rally Sunday night, according to the Belgrade-based news agency Beta. "This is our land and will remain so."

Karadzic said the Serbs, under pressure to reduce their share of Bosnian territory from 70 percent to 49 percent, would be less willing to compromise because of the government attacks.

An estimated 200,000 people have been killed or reported missing in the war.