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North Korea threatens South with ‘special attack’

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North Korea threatened Monday to reduce "to ashes" South Korean targets — including news organizations — with an unspecified "special attack," the latest round of aggressive rhetoric that many expect will culminate with Pyongyang's third nuclear test.

The North Korean military's "special operation action group" delivered the threat in a statement that was read during a special bulletin on state-run television. The action group directed the statement at the Seoul government, South Korean news organizations and other "rat-like elements" in the South it said were "destroying fair-minded public opinion."

North Korea routinely threatens the South. But the belligerent tone of its recent rhetoric has risen sharply in the wake of its failed rocket test earlier this month and during preparations to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the founding of the communist regime's military on Wednesday.

Regional scholars believe the North soon will follow the disastrous rocket launch with a new provocation — perhaps a nuclear test, as it did after failed missile tests in 2006 and 2009.

"The special actions of our revolutionary armed forces will start soon to meet the reckless challenge of the group of traitors," according to the statement, a written version of which was carried by the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency.

The special operation action group "will reduce all the rat-like groups and the bases for provocations to ashes in three or four minutes, in much shorter time, by unprecedented peculiar means and methods of our own style," it read.

Some analysts in Seoul took that as a reference to possible terrorist operation or a cyberattack, according to the Voice of America.

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