<font color="maroon" size=2><b>[Breaking News]</b></font><br>North Korea shells southern island, no fatalities yet

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[Breaking News]
North Korea shells southern island, no fatalities yet

North Korea fired roughly 200 artillery shells into Yeonpyeong Island and the South Korean Navy directly returned fire after 2:34 p.m. today.

The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed that multiple buildings on the island were destroyed by North Korean shells.

No fatalities have been confirmed by the military, but four soldiers were wounded on the island as well as two civilians. Soldiers are being taken to hospital.

The barrage from North Korea was continuing at 4 p.m. South Korea dispatched F-16 fighter jets to the area.

An annual nationwide military drill, called the Hoguk exercise, which include U.S. forces, began yesterday. A thousand Korean Navy sailors are posted on Yeonpyeong Island. North Korea has described the annual
drill as a dress rehearsal for an invasion of the North.

South Korean government officials have been called to an emergency meeting with President Lee Myung-bak at an underground bunker beneath the presidential compound.

One islander said that most of the citizens on the island were out on fishing boats when the attack occurred, as the majority of the islanders are fishermen, saying that this was the first time that shells had
fallen on the island.

The people on the island have evacuated to safe houses to avoid more harm.

Naval clashes have occurred near the disputed maritime border on the West Coast, with the last conflict happening a year ago which left a North Korean patrol boat badly damaged with one known casualty on the North Korean side.


By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]

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