Tensions rise: North Korea fires artillery, South Korea evacuates civilians near border to bomb shelters | Abroad

UPDATEResidents of two South Korean islands were evacuated to bomb shelters on Friday after North Korea fired about 200 artillery shells into the surrounding waters. This is reported by the local and South Korean military authorities.

The islands of Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong on the west coast of the Korean Peninsula, which are close to the North Korean mainland, were shelled between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. (local time), the South Korean Ministry of Defense said. It was only around noon that residents were asked to take refuge in the island’s shelters. According to military authorities, there were no injuries or damage to report.

Seoul has said in an initial response that North Korea’s artillery fire is “a provocation”. Seoul warns it will respond with “appropriate measures.” The local authorities of Yeonpyeong called the evacuation “preventive”. The island off the west coast was the target of a North Korean artillery attack in 2010. Four people were killed, including two civilians.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are currently rising again. According to Yonhap, the armed forces of South Korea and the US also began an artillery exercise near the border with North Korea on Thursday.

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