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North Korea intensifies live-fire drills near southern border, raising tensions
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The drills took place north of South Korea's front-line island of Yeonpyeong starting around 4 p.m., according to a military source.

As of now, no North Korean artillery shells have crossed the de-facto maritime border, the Northern Limit Line (NLL), into South Korean territory, and there are no reported casualties, the source confirmed. Ongjin County, overseeing South Korea's northwestern islands, issued a warning to residents, urging caution due to the sounds of artillery fire from the North Korean side.

This marks the third consecutive day of live-fire drills by North Korea along its southwestern coast, with the most recent episode raising concerns and prompting a response from South Korean troops on the front-line islands.

On Friday, North Korea fired approximately 200 artillery shells from its southwestern coastal areas, leading South Korean troops to conduct live-fire drills in response. The latest series of drills follows North Korea's November announcement to resume military measures that were halted under a 2018 inter-Korean military agreement, including live-fire drills near the border area.

In a show of military assertiveness, Kim Yo-jong, the influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, claimed on Saturday that North Korea had executed a "deceptive operation" involving the detonation of explosives simulating the sound of coastal artillery. This move was accompanied by criticism of South Korean military detection capabilities.

The recent saber-rattling raises concerns about the stability of the Korean Peninsula and the potential for further escalations between the two Koreas. (ILKHA)

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