In an escalation of an already tense situation, North and South Korea exchanged fire over their heavily fortified border today, the South Korean Defense Ministry said.

South Korea detected a projectile, assumed to be a small rocket, that was fired toward the western province.

The South Korean military responded by firing a few dozen shells at the area from which the North Korean projectile was fired, the official said.

The Pentagon is monitoring the escalating tension closely,

The U.S. believes North Korea deliberately placed mines in the path of a South Korean patrol in the demilitarized zone between the two countries, sparking the exchanges, the official said.

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