[Updated at 7:41 a.m.] "The firing of artillery by North Korea against Yeonpyeongdo (Yeonpyeong Island) constitutes an indisputable armed provocation against the Republic of Korea. Making matters worse, it even indiscriminately fired against civilians. Such actions will never be tolerated," South Korea's Senior Secretary to the President for Public Relations said in a statement.
[Posted at 7:03 a.m.] North Korea said South Korea started an exchange of fire Tuesday by firing toward its side, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported, citing the North's Korean Central News Agency.
"Our revolutionary forces will continue to mount merciless military strikes without hesitation if the puppets in the South trespass even 0.0001 millimeters into our waters," the North's military command said in a statement, according to Yonhap.
[Posted at 6:54 a.m.] North Korea fired artillery toward its tense western sea border with South Korea on Tuesday, killing two South Korean marines, the South's Defense Ministry said.
Fifteen other South Korean soldiers were wounded, five of them seriously, defense officials said. Three civilians were injured in the attack.
About 100 rounds of artillery hit an inhabited South Korean island in the Yellow Sea after the North started firing about 2:30 p.m. local time, the Yonhap news agency said. Yonhap initially reported that 200 rounds had hit. The Defense Ministry said it could not confirm the number of rounds.
South Korea's military responded with more than 80 rounds of artillery and deployed fighter jets to counter the fire, defense officials said. Firing between the two sides lasted for about an hour.
The South Korean army also raised its alert condition, Yonhap said.
Images of plumes of smoke were quickly broadcast on Yonhap television from the island of Yeonpyeong, with some homes on fire. It was not immediately clear how much damage the artillery had done. The island has a large military garrison.