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South Vietnamese President Diem's Palace Bombed

Feb. 26, 1962 - Two fighter-bombers bearing markings of the South Vietnamese Air Force attacked President Ngo Dinh Diem’s today with bombs, rockets and machine guns. The Saigon radio announced an hour later that the President and his family were unhurt. One wing of the palace was left in flames. The attackers also strafed the Saigon Airport. The 61-year-old bachelor President, his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu, and Mme. Ngo Dinh Nhu were in the palace at the time. The Government broadcast said that one of the planes, identified by American sources as AD-6 Skyraiders, crashed north of the capital. The AD-6 is an attack craft that was used by the U.S. Navy in World War II and later supplied by the U.S. to South Vietnam’s Air Force. It is not known who piloted the planes. In a broadcast after the attack, the Vietnamese President said: “Thanks to the Almighty’s protection, I and all the people in the palace were unharmed. There was only some material damage. All defense and security measures have been taken. All the air bases have been alerted. Let all my fellow countrymen fulfill their duty as citizens and remain calm.” The U.S. Embassy in Saigon reported to the State Department that there were no incidents in Saigon other than the aerial attack and no evidence of a major revolt. Fifteen months ago, the President was the target of a short-lived uprising by four paratroop battalions. Since then, the U.S. has been advising him to institute democratic reforms to increase popular support for his regime.

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