Smoke rises from South Korean Yeonpyeong Island after being hit by dozens of artillery shells fired by North Korea November 23, 2010. Several South Korean civilians and soldiers were wounded and many others were being evacuated to bunkers on Tuesday, a Seoul television reported. The island is located near the western maritime border between the two Koreas, 11 km (7 miles) from the North and about 115 km (71 miles) northwest of Seoul. (REUTERS/Yonhap)
As many as 200 shells were fired by the North on the island.
Firing between the two sides lasted for about an hour.
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South Korea says two marines have been killed and 16 others injured in a North Korean bombardment of a South Korean island near the countries’ disputed western sea border.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday that it returned fire and scrambled fighter jets in response. It said the “inhumane” attack on civilian areas violated the 1953 armistice halting the Korean War. The two sides technically remain at war because a peace treaty was never negotiated.
The skirmish came amid high tension over North Korea’s claim that it has a new uranium enrichment facility, and just six weeks after North Korean leader Kim Jong Il unveiled his youngest son Kim Jong Un as his heir apparent.
One Free Korea has more on the attack.
UPDATE: The attack is linked to the 26 year-old dictator-in-waiting.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported:
NORTH KOREA has burnished the leadership credentials of its 26-year-old dictator-in-waiting with a deadly artillery attack on South Korean territory, causing its neighbour to return fire and scramble F-16 fighters.
Two South Korean marines died, and at least 12 were wounded. There were reports of civilian injuries and houses were set ablaze as scores of shells fell on Yeonpyeong island.
A North Korea expert at Beijing’s Central Party School, Zhang Liangui, told the Herald that Kim Jong-un was deliberately destabilising the environment in order to mobilise the military and consolidate his power.