Yellow Sea border islanders ordered into air raid shelters

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Yellow Sea border islanders ordered into air raid shelters

Residents on the Yellow Sea island of Yeonpyeong were ordered Monday to evacuate to nearby air raid shelters, as South Korea's military is poised to hold a live-fire drill in waters off the border island devastated by North Korea's artillery last month, officials said.

The evacuation order came shortly after South Korea's military announced a plan to go ahead with a one-day live-fire drill off Yeonpyeong Island Monday, despite the North's repeated warnings of an "unpredictable" counterstrike.

Yeonpyeong, home to about 1,300 residents and a Marine Corps base, was bombarded by North Korea's unprovoked artillery attack on Nov. 23, which killed four people, including two civilians.

As of Monday morning, about 280 people, including residents, reporters and government officials, were staying on the island, just a few kilometers south of the tense inter-Korean maritime border.

Government officials stationed on Yeonpyeong said they issued the evacuation order at 9:05 a.m. through speakers installed throughout the island.

"A maritime firing drill is scheduled to take place today. All residents have to move to nearby air raid shelters," the broadcast announcement said. [Yonhap]

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