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2 More N. Korean Agents Killed Near Border by S. Korean Troops

November 05, 1996| From Reuters

SEOUL — South Korean troops killed two North Korean agents today who were among a group of 26 who landed in the South in September when their submarine ran aground, a South Korean military spokesman said.

Only one of the 26 remains at large. Twenty-two of the 26 agents were killed and one was captured alive soon after the Sept. 17 landing.

The two North Koreans were shot to death after they opened fire with M-16 automatic rifles and hurled grenades at pursuing South Korean soldiers near the border with the Communist North, a Defense Ministry spokesman said.

A senior military officer said about 10 South Korean soldiers were killed or wounded by hand grenades thrown by the agents.

"There were deaths and injuries on our side," the officer said, without giving details. He added that an announcement would be made later in the day.

State radio said three South Koreans--a colonel, a captain and a corporal--were killed and nine wounded.

The Defense Ministry spokesman said the infiltrators were wearing South Korean military uniforms and carried the kind of rifles used in the South.

"But they used bullets which did not carry serial numbers. All ammunition used by our side bears serial numbers," he said.

The spokesman said South Korean special forces had been combing the rugged east coast mountains just south of the demilitarized zone since Monday when the two infiltrators fled after being stopped by Southern soldiers.

The zone was set up between the two Koreas under the 1953 armistice agreement that ended the three-year Korean War. The two Koreas are still technically at war.

The Shark-class submarine ran aground off the eastern city of Kangnung on Sept. 17 as it tried to pick up three spies it had sent ashore two days earlier, according to the only North Korean from the vessel captured alive.

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