US Ambassador Slashed With Knife In Attack

The US ambassador to South Korea has been slashed on the face and wrist by a knife-wielding attacker shouting for unification of the divided peninsula.

President Barack Obama called his former aide Mark Lippert to wish him a swift recovery after the assault during a breakfast speech in Seoul.

The 42-year-old envoy was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery for more than two hours, but his injuries were not life-threatening.

He received an 11cmwound to the right of his face requiring 80 stitches and a cut to his left arm which ruptured a tendon and caused nerve damage.

The ambassador was said to be calm and composed throughout the procedure.

A State Department spokeswoman said: “We strongly condemn this act of violence.”

Footage taken in aftermath of the attack, showed the ambassador being rushed out of the building holding one hand to his bleeding right cheek, with his other hand smeared with blood.

Security staff and police officers were seen jumping on the ambassador’s assailant who was armed with a 10-inch blade.

Police have identified the suspected attacker as 55-year-old Kim Ki-Jong, who has a previous conviction for assaulting the Japanese ambassador to Seoul in 2010.

“I carried out an act of terror,” Kim shouted as he was pinned to the floor.

District police chief Yoon Myung-Soonsaid: “We have detained him and are investigating the cause of the attack and other circumstances.”

A spokesman for the Korea Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation, which hosted the event, apologised for the lack of security.

Mr Lippert, a long-time adviser to President Obama and former US assistant secretary of defense for Asian affairs, only took up his post in South Korea last October.

Mr Lippert had also previously served as a intelligence officer for naval special operations, andwon a Bronze Star Medal following a tour in Iraq.

South and North Korea have been divided since the 1950-53 Korean War and are still technically at war because the fighting ended in a truce.

The US and South Korea launched annualjoint military exercises this week leading to heightened tensions with the communist North.

Pyongyang claims they are rehearsals for an invasion, while South Korea and the US argue they are purely defensive.

America has almost 30,000 troops permanently stationed in the South.

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5 March 2015 | 5:46 am – Source: orange.co.uk

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