Koreas Trade Fire; Island Residents in Shelters

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North and South Korea fired hundreds of artillery shells into each other’s waters Monday in a flare-up of animosity that forced residents of five front-line South Korean islands to evacuate to shelters for several hours, South Korean officials said.

The exchange of fire into the Yellow Sea followed Pyongyang’s sudden announcement that it would conduct live-fire drills in seven areas north of the Koreas’ disputed maritime boundary. North Korea routinely test-fires artillery and missiles into the ocean but rarely discloses those plans in advance. The announcement was seen as an expression of Pyongyang’s frustration at making little progress in its recent push to win outside aid.

North Korea fired 500 rounds of artillery shells over more than three hours, about 100 of which fell south of the sea boundary, South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said. South Korea responded by firing 300 shells into North Korean waters, he said. Continue reading

Israeli intelligence: Iran testing chemical weapons in Syria

The Israeli intelligence community has determined that Iran was testing a range of chemical weapons in Syria amid the war against President Bashar Assad. Officials said the tests included those of CW warheads on artillery shells fired toward Sunni rebel strongholds in August.

In fact, Assad’s regime has become a full Iranian client and Syria has become Iran’s testing ground,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “Now the whole world is watching. Iran is watching and it wants to see what would be the reaction on the use of chemical weapons.” Continue reading