By R. Hart Phillips
Special to The New York Times
HAVANA, March 13—Forty youths were reported killed this afternoon in an apparently unsuccessful surprise attempt to overthrow the Batista regime. A number of soldiers and police men also were reported killed.
The youths attacked the Presidential Palace with rifles, machine guns and hand grenades.
They rushed the Colon Street entrance, killed the sergeant on guard, and got inside the palace.
In all, five Government troops were killed in the Palace, according to an official estimate.
mowed down some rebels in the patio and on the stairway as
they tried to
reach the upper floors. Others were killed outside the palace.
Tonight the uprising appeared to be over, at least for the time being. However, firing was still reported in the outskirts of the city.
to have been made by student revolutionaries and adherents of
Carlos Prio Socarras.
“The people have responded as always in support of the Government to maintain order and peace,” he added.
He said the Cuban public had never supported and would not support pro-Communists.
During the fighting, a United States tourist, Peter Korinda of Clifton, N.J., was killed as he stepped out on the balcony of the Regis Hotel on Colon Street, about two blocks from the palace. He was struck in the neck by a bullet, and he died before he could be taken to a hospital.
Because of the uprising, all airline flights into and out of Cuba were canceled this afternoon. National flights in Cuba also were canceled.
Downtown Havana tonight looked like an armed camp. The streets were barred to civilians. All motion picture theatres and night clubs were closed.
Censorship was established by the Ministry of Communications on radio and television. The order barred the showing of any of the fighting. Only official announcements may be broadcast by radio and television.
It was not immediately clear whether the insurgents had any connection with Fidel Castro, the rebel leader who has been holding forth since December in the mountains of Oriente Province at the eastern end of Cuba.
Señor Castro is supported by some students but is said to have operated independently of the revolutionary students in Havana, although on a parallel course.
However, Cuban Army headquarters charged tonight that those who attacked the palace were Communist followers of Señor Castro and former President Prio.
The known dead included Menelao Mora, who was a member of Congress in the Prio Administration; José Antonio Echeverria, president of the student federation at the University of Havana, and a policeman.
Today’s uprising began at 3:20 P.M. About that time the insurgents simultaneously attacked the Presidential Palace in downtown Havana and Radio Station Reloj (Clock) in suburban Vedado, several miles away. Radio Reloj broadcasts news and the time of day.
The rebels captured the radio station quickly and broadcast stories indicating that the revolt was a success. Included was a report that the Army had dismissed its Chief of Staff, Gen. Francisco Tabernilla.
Two hours later, however, General Tabernilla issued a statement from Camp Columbia, which is Army headquarters, that the uprising was over. Firing continued around the Presidential Palace for forty minutes more until about 6 P.M.
At that time the palace was surrounded by soldiers, tanks and anti-aircraft guns. President Batista sent word from the palace that he and his family were safe.
In the attack on the palace, a group fired from the roof of an adjacent building. Witnesses said the palace steps and patio ran with blood. The walls of the patio were badly damaged by machine gun fire.
For nearly three hours, tanks, machine guns and rifles fired from the palace grounds to dislodge the snipers on the roof.
Near-by business houses closed, and residents of the palace area remained in their homes behind shuttered doors and windows. Soldiers and policemen refused to let anyone leave the vicinity.
The New York Times office, which is on the same street as the palace, a block away, shook with the firing. Bullets struck the rear wall.
The National Capitol and the Ministry of Health were also attacked by groups of youths. Gun battles in various parts of the city disrupted traffic and paralyzed ordinary activities.
Gen. Hernando Hernandez, chief of the national police, said tonight that the attack on the palace had been completely defeated. He directed the public to remain at home after 6 P.M. as sporadic shooting might occur.
were that thirty or forty men had taken part in the initial
phase of each
of the two main attacks, but had been joined later by others.
were said to have taken part in the firing in other parts of
He was survived by his mother, Mrs. Anna Korinda; four brothers and a sister.