North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire at their western border Thursday afternoon, as psychological warfare tensions spilled over into a physical confrontation, SIA reports citing the AA.
Seoul’s defense ministry confirmed that suspected North Korean shells were detected by radar shortly before 4 p.m. (0700GMT).
While no damage was immediately reported, the South responded with “dozens” of its own shells, according to local news agency Yonhap.
Civilians were also being evacuated from the border area, as the government announced that it would convene an emergency session of the National Security Council.
The standoff came after days of warnings and counter-threats from both sides.
South Korea had last week resumed propaganda broadcasts via loudspeakers placed in the direction of North Korea for the first time in more than a decade – in response to a joint investigation with the United Nations Command blaming the North’s military for landmine blasts earlier this month.
The explosions just hundreds of meters into the South’s portion of the inter-Korean Demilitarized Zone left two soldiers in need of leg amputations.
North Korea, which aims to strictly control information from the outside world, started playing its own broadcasts – though South Korean intelligence had detected unusual border movement in the last 24 hours.
The South was already in a state of heightened alert, as the nation is in the midst of a military exercise with the United States bringing together around 80,000 troops.