A score of communist rockets, apparently aimed at a military ??? near Phnom Penh airport?
A score of communist rockets, apparently aimed at a military ??? near Phnom Penh airport alammed into the adjoining poor quarter of pochantong on Thursday (26 April), killing 24 civilians, including five children, and wounding another 55 inhabitants of the capital of the Khmer republic.
Only six of the 122 millimetre Soviet-made rockets hit the base. The other 20 wreaked havoc among the wood and straw huts along a railway line on the outskirts of the airport.
It was the fourth time this week that the beleaguered capital had come under heavy attack from the encircling Communist forces. The civilian air terminal was not hit and international flights were not affected.
SYNOPSIS: A military base adjoining Phnom Penh airport some under rocket attack on Thursday form communist forces ??? the beleaguered Khmer Republic capital, But most of the rockets were off target. Twenty of them exploded in the neighbouring poor quarter of Pochentong. Twenty-four civilians, including five children, died. Another 55 people were wounded.
There was little protection for the residents of the area, who live mainly in wood and straw huts. The rockets were big, Soviet-made 122 millimetre projectiles. It was the fourth heavy rocket attack on Phnom Penh this week.
When the attack was over, the local residents picked through the wreckage, salvaging what they could. Among the ruins were often grisly reminders of the carnage the powerful rockets had caused. Only six of the rockets hit their target, wounding seven Khmer Government soldiers. Details were not released of damage to the military base. Amongst the shattered houses of Pochentong, grim evidence of the attack was all too obvious.
Most of the casualties were in ten thatched huts which received direct hits from the rockets. Most of the occupants were killed by the explosions. People in neighbouring huts died when their dwellings caught fire. Relatives of those who were killed and other local residents collected money to pay for the burial of the Victims.
While some heart-broken relatives mourned the dead, others began digging protective trenches. There could be another attack soon.