North Korea fired about 100 rounds of artillery at Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea authorities said. The attack killed two marines and wounded 15 soldiers and civilians, and also set houses and forests on fire on the island.
South Korea's military responded with more than 80 rounds of artillery and deployed fighter jets to counter the fire. Firing between the two sides lasted for about an hour in the Yellow Sea, a longstanding flash point between the two Koreas.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak ordered his military to punish North Korea "through action," not just words. "The provocation this time can be regarded as an invasion of South Korean territory," Lee said during a visit to the headquarters of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in central Seoul. "In particular, indiscriminate attacks on civilians are a grave matter."
Nations reacted swiftly Tuesday in condemning the North Korean artillery attack. The United States also offered quick comment, with the White House saying it "strongly condemns" the "belligerent action" by North Korea.
Russia's Interfax news agency said Russia condemned North Korea's artillery shelling, pointing out that "those who initiated the attack on a South Korean island in the northern part of the inter-Korean maritime border line assumed enormous responsibility."