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North Korean Shelling Shatters Islanders’ Illusion of Security

Like many of the 1,700 residents of Yeonpyeong island, Shin Seung Won had grown accustomed to the distant rumble of artillery fire by North and South Korea. This week, the tit-for-tat exercises took on a deadly reality.

“I’ve lived with the sound of shelling all my life,” said Shin, who runs a motel on the South Korean island, where the military conducts live-firing drills less than 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) away from North Korean troops. “I looked out the window after hearing a thundering sound and saw my neighbor’s house on fire,” Shin said in a telephone interview.