A North Korean missile exploded in mid-air and damaged various parts of Pyongyang city university, potentially killing two people according to reports.
Intelligence authorities said that the Hwasong-17, which North Korea fired from the Pyongyang Sunan Airfield on the 16th, damaged “major facilities” in the capital’s down town area, “blowing off” the roof of the Kim Jong-il Political and Military University.
Information that two people were killed in the explosion on the same day is being analysed by officials.
A high-ranking intelligence official said: “The missile fragments did not fall like hail on a private house, but major facilities in downtown Pyongyang were damaged.”
A large crater was blown into the ground near the Kim Jong-il Political and Military University, about 9km from Pyongyang Sunan Airfield, the paper reported.
Part of the university’s roof was blown off, it is claimed, while two people reportedly died in the explosion.
The missile launch is understood to be the 10th of its kind this year, showing renewed intent by the hermit kingdom to improve weapons systems which have long-evaded it.
Lee Choon Geun, an honorary research fellow at South Korea’s Science and Technology Policy Institute, told CBS News that if the missile’s toxic fuels fell on civilian residential areas in North Korea, they would likely cause a major health impact.
The school is based on North Korea’s top military academy, Kim Il Sung Military University. Daily NK states that it is “renowned as a center for producing the nation’s highest ranking military commanders”.
Selected officers from the country’s army, navy and air force between the ranks of sangwi – equivalent to a rank between first lieutenant and captain – and lieutenant colonel can enrol for specialised three to four-year programs.
These are focused on artillery, engineering, chemical warfare, or other fields of study, the title adds.
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Meanwhile, higher ranking officers above sangjwa, a rank between South Korea’s lieutenant colonel and colonel, can enrol in one-year training courses.
Last week footage was released by North Korea showing the moment the country’s military officials count down from 10 before apparently launching a huge, new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
Dubbed the Hwasong-17, the missile is capable of hitting targets in most areas of the globe including the United States.