North Korean government officials 'involved in Kim Jong-Nam's murder'
North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un's half-brother Kim Jong-Nam was killed in Malaysia's international airport when two women sprayed a deadly nerve agent on?his face. Photograph: (Reuters)
South Korea's intelligence believes that some North Korean government officials were involved in the assassination of Kim Jong-Nam earlier this month.
Among the suspects wanted by the Malaysian police include several officials who worked in North Korea's foreign and security ministries, according to South Korean lawmakers.
North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un's half-brother Kim Jong-Nam was killed in Malaysia's international airport when two women sprayed the deadly VX nerve agent on his face. VX nerve agent is a chemical capable of killing a person in minutes and listed by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction.
"Among eight suspects in this case four are from the ministry of state security and two who actually took action are from the foreign ministry," Lee Cheol-woo, one of the lawmakers briefed by South Korean intelligence, told reporters.
"That is why it is a case of terrorism led by the state, directly organised by the ministry of state security and the foreign ministry," Lee added.
One of the eight suspects wanted by Malaysia is a North Korea embassy official, who is believed to still be in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia's health minister Subramaniam Sathasivam said on Sunday that Kim Jong Nam died within 15-20 minutes of being assaulted by two women who are believed to have smeared VX on his face.
The women, Indonesian and Vietnamese citizens, are in police custody and have told officials from their respective embassies that they believed they were taking part in a TV prank.
Another South Korean lawmaker briefed by the intelligence agency, Kim Byung-kee, said the North Koreans had operated in three teams. Two teams were responsible for hiring women in Indonesia and Vietnam and bringing them to Malaysia to carry out the attack and another was a "back-up" team.
The killing has sparked a diplomatic standoff between the two usually friendly countries, with Malaysia refusing to hand over the body to North Korea before it is officially identified by the victim's next of kin.
(WION with inputs from Reuters)