SEOUL - North Korea threatened Jan. 15 to wage a "holy war" against South Korea, denouncing the Lee Myung-bak administration's alleged schemes to prepare for the communist state's internal instabilities, including the death of its leader, Kim Jong-il.
In a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency, the North's National Defense Commission warned that it will cut off all dialogue with South Korea and exclude its southern neighbor from all negotiations related to the security of the Korean Peninsula. The commission, headed by Kim, is the highest ruling agency in the Stalinist state.
"This is a plan to topple our republic," the North Korean statement said. "We will start a pan-national holy war of retaliation to blow away the den of South Korean authorities, including the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, who have led and supported the drawing of this plan.
"The strongly worded statement arrived after a South Korean newspaper reported Jan. 13 that the Seoul government had mapped out a plan that outlines administrative support measures for the South Korean-U.S. joint military contingency plan, codenamed 5029, to cope with various levels of internal turmoil in the North following the North Korean leader's reported illness and deepening economic problems in the North.
Quoting unidentified officials in Seoul, the Munhwa Ilbo reported that the plan, codenamed "Recovery," deals with five contingency scenarios: the death of Kim, a coup, a popular uprising, a massive inflow of North Korean refugees, and more sanctions or military attacks from the outside.
The Chosun Ilbo, the vernacular daily newspaper in the South, said Jan. 14 that the Recovery plan also envisions South Korea's establishment of an "administrative headquarters to liberate the North," when contingency situations arise.
Seoul's Ministry of Unification declined to comment on the reports at that time.
"We find it deeply regretful that North Korea took a threatening stance toward us based on some unconfirmed media reports," ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung said in a statement Jan. 15.
(CNN) -- Air raids in northern Yemen killed six operatives with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen's Ministry of Defense said Friday.
The main target was the group's military commander, Qassim al-Raimi, the Yemeni Embassy to the United States said in a written statement.
The defense ministry said al-Raimi was killed.
A Yemeni government official briefed in detail on the matter said the Yemeni government is "almost certain" that al-Raimi was killed.
The official described al-Raimi as the third-highest-ranking figure in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen.
The group has claimed responsibility for the attempted bombing of a U.S.-bound airliner on December 25. Investigators have said intelligence ties the bombing suspect, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, to the group.
Yemeni forces carried out an air raid at 2:30 p.m. near Alajasher in the country's far north, the Yemeni Embassy to the United States said in its statement.