North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire Tuesday after the North shelled an island near their disputed sea border, killing at least two South Korean marines, setting dozens of buildings ablaze and sending civilians fleeing for shelter.
The skirmish began when Pyongyang warned the South to halt military drills in the area, according to South Korean officials. When Seoul refused, the North bombarded the small South Korean-held island of Yeonpyeong, which houses military installations and a small civilian population.
South Korea returned fire and dispatched fighter jets in response, and said there could be considerable North Korean casualties as troops unleashed intense retaliatory fire. The supreme military command in Pyongyang threatened more strikes if the South crossed their maritime border by “even 0.001 millimeter,” according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.
Government officials in Seoul called the bombardments “inhumane atrocities” that violated the 1953 armistice halting the Korean War. The two sides technically remain at war because a peace treaty was never signed.
(Via- AP SEOUL, South Korea)