Counterfire caused `many casualties` in North: S Korea

North Korea attacked a South Korean island on November 23, killing 2 marines.

Seoul: South Korea`s military has indicated that it inflicted ``many casualties`` on North Korea when it returned artillery fire in response to the North`s November 23 bombardment of a South Korean island.

"Satellite images show our shells landed on a cluster of barracks in North Korea, so we presume there have been many casualties and considerable property damage," Yonhap news agency quoted a senior official at the South`s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The South is still analysing images taken by its own satellite to assess the extent of damage and casualties on the North`s side, the official said on condition of anonymity, according to the report.

Earlier yesterday, lawmaker Kwon Young Se of the ruling Grand National Party said he verified in two satellite photos unveiled by the National Intelligence Service earlier in the day that about 10 rounds of the South`s return fire fell inside the North`s coastline artillery bases.

"About 10 rounds of our military`s shells fell inside artillery bases in Mudo, and one of them was shown in the photos to have hit directly on the far end of a military barrack," Kwon said in a report by Yonhap.

"It is possible to assume (North Korea) suffered quite serious human casualties," Kwon said.

Kwon said one photo was taken by a South Korean satellite and the other was from a commercial satellite.

The comments contrast with those by US security think tank STRATFOR, which said earlier this week that North Korea does not seem to have suffered serious damage from the South`s shelling, judging from a satellite image it released.

The photo, taken by the DigitalGlobe three days after the two Koreas` artillery exchange, shows 14 spots in fields apparently impacted by shells fired by South Korea in response to the North`s attack on Yeonpyeong Island, suggesting the shells landed there after flying over the North`s artillery positions.