Seoul announces new counterterrorism effort

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Seoul announces new counterterrorism effort

Authorities in Seoul announced Friday plans to create a consolidated network involving the police, the military and firefighting forces to boost counterterrorism measures.

The three agencies will “freely share” information on terrorism and enhance communication channels among one another via official liaisons, the Seoul Metropolitan Fire & Disaster Headquarters said.

Authorities will also design an instruction manual outlining the roles of each department in case of a terror attack, and a combined practice drill will take place annually on Jan. 21.

The date is meant to recall Jan. 21, 1968, when a group of North Korean commandos sneaked southward in an attempt to assassinate Park Chung Hee, the South Korean president at the time. The attempt was ultimately botched.

The first combined drill was scheduled to take place Friday afternoon at a training area for the SWAT team in Seodaemun District, central Seoul.

Earlier this week, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) announced that 51 people had been deported over the past five years over terrorism allegations, including ties to ISIS.

Apart from the deportations, seven foreigners who worked in Korea joined ISIS following their sojourns in the country, the NIS said.

An anti-terrorism bill has been delayed in the legislature since 2011 due to liberal opposition stemming from concerns over the potential for abuse of authority.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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