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Tue, Jul 04, 2006

US Says North Korea Fired At Least Five Missiles

Confirms Taepodong-2 Test Was A Failure

ANN REALTIME REPORTING 07.04.06 1930 EDT: And then there were five... US officials cited by CNN and Fox News confirmed that earlier today, North Korea test fired a total of at least five missiles... including one, and possibly two, Taepodong-2 long-range rockets.

In a display of ironic timing, Pyongyang fired an intermediate-range Scud-based Rodong missile shortly after the launch of the space shuttle Discovery Tuesday afternoon. That rocket was soon followed by a second, similar missile.

Both of those missiles reportedly fell harmlessly into the Sea of Japan, which separates the communist stalwart from the Japanese mainlands. CNN reports one of the missiles reportedly fell "very close" to the northern island of Hokkaido.

Within a half-hour of the second missile launch, the first Taepodong-2 was launched... and for reasons as yet undetermined, it fell from the sky 42 seconds after liftoff.

CNN reports that US Security Advisor Steven Hadley says those tests later were followed by a second set of Rodongs, and possibly another Taepodong-2. Officials say all the missiles launched fell harmlessly into the sea.

The tests come three weeks after North Korea first hinted it was preparing to test launch its Taepodong-2 multistage ICBM... and likely represent a significant escalation of diplomatic tensions between the communist regime of Kim Jong Il and the United States.

Was that North Korea's intention... or are these tests simply another attempt to divert attention away from matters in the Persian Gulf?

"You'd have to ask the 'Dear Leader'," an unidentified US official told CNN, derisively referring to Il by his preferred title.

EARLIER REPORTS

ANN REALTIME REPORTING 07.04.06 1650 EDT: North Korea has test fired THREE missiles within the last hour... and CNN is reporting that one of those missiles is the Taepodong 2 long-range, multistage intercontinental ballistic missile the communist regime has been preparing to fire for the past three weeks.

The exact outcome of the Taepodong 2 firing is not yet known... but several sources tell ANN the test was a failure, with the missile coming apart shortly after liftoff. The first two missiles, believed to be short-range "Scud"-type missiles, both fell harmlessly in the Sea of Japan.

Despite the reported failure of the Taepodong-2, one thing is certain... on this, the United States' 230th birthday (a fact likely not lost on Kim Jong Il) AND on a day when the US is celebrating its successful return to space... the saber-rattling coming from North Korea has just escalated... with as-yet unknown consequences.

We will bring you more on this developing story as more information becomes available. Stay tuned.

FMI: www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/dprk/index.html

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