Photo, above: U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert was attacked by a knife-wielding assailant before a morning lecture in Seoul on Thursday
‘The knife of justice’: North Korea praises fanatic who slashed US ambassador to Seoul across face, saying attack was ‘righteous punishment’
- Ambassador Mark Lippert, 42, was attending a lecture in Seoul Thursday morning when he was attacked with a knife
- North Korean news agency referred to attack as ‘expression of resistence’
- Could be referring to US holding joint military exercises with South Korea
- KCNA described the weapon used in the brutal attack as ‘knife of justice’
- Someone was heard yelling ‘North Korea and South Korea should be unified’ before a bloodied Lippert was escorted out of building
- A 55-year-old man identified as Kim Ki-jong was immediately arrested
- South Korean intelligence officials say Kim traveled to North Korea six times between 2006 and 2007
- In 2011, Kim also once tried to erect a memorial to late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in downtown Seoul
- Lippert was hospitalised for cuts to face and arms; is in stable condition
- The injury on his face necessitated 80 stitches, doctors say
- Attack comes just days after North Korea fired missiles into Sea of Japan in response to joint U.S.-South Korea military drills
- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
North Korea has said the brutal knife attack on an American ambassador in Seoul is ‘just punishment’ for US’ decision to hold joint military exercises with South Korea.
This morning, Mark Lippert was left with a gaping wound on the side of his face after a furious activist slashed it open with a knife.
He needed 80 stitches to fix the damage caused by the attack in broad daylight as he attended a breakfast meeting Thursday morning in Seoul.
Both his home country and South Korea condemned the attacks but North Korea’s KCNA news agency described it as an ‘expression of resistance’.
And in a brief statement, it said the attack ‘reflected public opinion in South Korea’ and referred to the weapon used as the ‘knife of justice’.
Korean media reported that someone yelled ‘North Korea and South Korea should be unified’ and ‘no to war training!’ before the bloodied Ambassador was seen leaving the Sejong performing-arts centre around 7.40am local time.
The attacker appears to have slashed Lippert on the right cheek and left wrist.
The State Department says the injuries are non-life-threatening and that Lippert is in stable condition after undergoing surgery at a nearby hospital.
‘It is regrettable that an incident like this took place,’ South Korean Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo said after the attack.
A 55-year-old ‘pro-North Korea activist’ name Kim Ki-jong was arrested immediately after the attack, and video shows the suspect in a salmon colored jacket being wrestled to the ground.
Horrific: The face of the U.S. Ambassador needed 80 stitches after it was slashed open by a man who reportedly yelled ‘North Korea and South Korea should be unified’