[release]North Korea artillery fire hits South island
(Reuters) - North Korea on Tuesday fired dozens of artillery shells at a South Korean island, setting buildings on fire and prompting a return of fire by the South, Seoul's military and media reports said.
A witness said residents of the island of Yeonpyeong, off the west coast of the peninsula near a disputed maritime border, had been evacuated.
Yonhap news agency said four South Korean soldiers had been wounded in the shelling, the biggest attack in years.
YTN television quoted a witness as saying 60 to 70 houses were on fire after the shelling and TV footage showed plumes of smoke coming from the island. It said a South Korean fighter jet had been deployed to the west coast after the shelling.
"Houses and mountains are on fire and people are evacuating. You can't see very well because of plumes of smoke," a witness on the island told YTN.
"People are frightened to death and shelling continues as we speak," the witness said.
News of the exchange of fire sent the won tumbling in offshore markets with the 1-month won down in NDF trading.
The impact was felt internationally, with U.S. 10-year Treasury futures rising and the Japanese yen falling.
South Korea's military confirmed the exchange of firing, without providing more details.
The attack comes just as a U.S. envoy is traveling to the region after revelations that the North is moving ahead with uranium enrichment, a possible second path to manufacture material for atomic weapons.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 6:43 AM GMT - South Korean fighter jet deployed to west coast island after shelling
Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 6:45 AM GMT - at least 200 shells hit island
Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 6:48 AM GMT - S.Korea top presidential aides meeting in underground bunker at presidential compound
Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 6:53 AM GMT - South Korea warns stronger response if North continues provocations
Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 7:10 AM GMT - S.Korea's military sends message to north to stop artillery fire
Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 7:12 AM GMT - Witness says residents fleeing S.Korean island by fishing boats
Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 7:53 AM GMT - South Korean military confirms one South Korean marine killed, three in serious condition
Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 8:37 AM GMT - South Korea police find bodies of civilians after North Korea attack
Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 8:46 AM GMT - N.Korea says South's actions driving peninsula "to the brink of war"
Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 12:24 AM GMT -
Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 3:36 AM GMT - North Korea warns of more retaliatory attacks for new south "provocations"
Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 3:36 AM GMT - North Korea rejects talks proposal from U.S. forces in South Korea, says South Korean government
Saturday, November 27, 2010 at X:XX AM GMT - China sends officials to Seoul to try to stop the military drills from occuring
Saturday, November 27, 2010 at 11:30 PM GMT - U.S.-South Korea military exercises have begun
Sunday, November 28, 2010 at 1:49 AM GMT - Japan spots Chinese vessels near disputed islands
Sunday, November 28, 2010 at 2:39 AM GMT - North Korea places surface-to-surface missiles on Yellow Sea launch pads
Sunday, November 28, 2010 at 2:39 AM GMT - South Korea orders residents of Yeonpyeong Island evacuated to shelters