North Korea Sends Rocket Into South, Thousands Evacuated

North Korea Sends Rocket Into South
Photo Courtesy: UPI

SEOUL, Aug. 20 (UPI) — South Korea’s Defense Ministry said North and South exchanged fire across the demilitarized zone on Thursday after a small rocket launched from the North reportedly hit an unidentified target area in the South.

A South Korean official told CNN that Seoul responded by firing a few dozen shells at the rocket’s point of origin. Pyongyang did not return the fire but warned it would take additional military action in 48 hours if Seoul does not dismantle its loudspeakers that broadcast anti-North Korea propaganda.

The rocket was fired about 3:52 p.m., according to South Korea’s Defense Ministry, and South Korea responded with artillery fire about 5 p.m., South Korean news network YTN reported.

The South Korean army deployed a 155-mm howitzer to fire dozens of artillery shells at the rocket’s point of origin, but the rocket has not been found. Seoul said more details of the rocket launch are to be determined after the weapon is located. No deaths or injuries were reported as a result of the attack, Seoul said, but guards at the border are to remain on high alert.

Thousands of South Korean residents along the border have been evacuated, Yonhap reported, including civilian populations in the cities of Incheon, Gimpo and a village in the city of Paju. Local police squads have been dispatched in case of an emergency in Gyeonggi province, but other areas on the South Korea’s eastern coast have not been evacuated.

In Gangwon province, a popular tourist destination, a restaurateur told South Korean outlet Newsis the North Korean threats were hurting many businesses, and worried about a regional economic downturn in an area that borders North Korea.

North and South Korea most recently exchanged fire in October 2014 when patrol boats clashed in the Yellow Sea, and then immediately after when North Korean gunmen targeted balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang leaflets.


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