The North Vietnam Foreign Ministry last week invited Hanoi-based foreign newsmen to visit Son Tay prison camp, which was attacked on November 21 by United States Commandos.
The North Vietnam Foreign Ministry last week invited Hanoi-based foreign newsmen to visit Son Tay prison camp, which was attacked on November 21 by United States Commandos. The journalists were shown the area around the camp and evidence of missiles and bombs fired during the raid.
Before visiting the camp, only 25 miles (40 KMs) west of Hanoi, the journalists were taken to the neighbouring villages, which, the North Vietnamese said, were attacked by missiles. Actual missiles were seen by the pressmen and in many cases the serial numbers were clearly visible on the side. One missiles had failed to explode on impact. About a dozen Shrike missiles were fired in diversionary air attacks, according to Washington.
In the attack on these villages, lines of communications were damaged and some harvested rice burnt. The journalists were told that about 30 U.S. Phantom F-4 aircraft attacked the area and heavily bombed it. The North Vietnamese pointed out to the newsmen that although the U.S. claimed only to have bombed military installations, here was evidence to the contrary.
The United States launched their attack deep into North Vietnamese territory in an effort to secure the release of captured Americans being held in Son Tay compound. But when the "Green Beret"-led rescue mission landed at the camp, they found it had been previously evacuated.
President Nixon has declared that the United States will use diplomacy and "any other way" to try and secure the release of American prisoners of war in North Vietnam. But Hanoi has warned against any repetition of the raid and said that measures had been taken to protect the captured pilots.