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S. Korea to deploy Israeli missiles to protect border islands
SEOUL, Sept. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has reached a deal to purchase precision-guided missiles from an Israeli company to protect its western border islands near the tense border with North Korea, a military source said Tuesday.

   "A deal was reached recently to bring in Spike NLOS missiles developed by Israel," the source said. "We should be able to deploy them late next year."

   The source said about 50 missiles will be placed on Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong islands in the Yellow Sea. Two South Korean civilians and two Marines were killed in the North's shelling of Yeonpyeong in November last year.

   The fifth-generation Spike NLOS (Non Line Of Sight) missile can hit a target using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology.

   "The military has been seeking the GPS-guided missiles, rather than those using imaging infrared seekers," the source said. "These latest Spike models will be able to respond to the threat of North Korean artillery."

   Developed by Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense System, the Spike missile is known to be capable of hitting North Korea's artillery pieces hidden in mountain caves along the tense Yellow Sea border.

   The Northern Limit Line (NLL) separating the Koreas was unilaterally drawn by the U.N. forces at the conclusion of the 1950-53 Korean War. Pyongyang has not recognized the NLL and has demanded that it be re-drawn farther south.

   The Spike NLOS, which costs US$300,000 per unit, has a range of 25 kilometers. Yeonpyeong is just 11km from North Korean shores, and waters near the island have been the site of three other bloody naval skirmishes.

   Since the November shelling, South Korea's military has deployed additional troops and high-tech weaponry, such as artillery-detecting radar, bunker-busting bombs and precision air-to-ground missiles, to Yeonpyeong and other Yellow Sea border islands. A new defense command for the western islands was set up in June.

   jeeho@yna.co.kr
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