North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was recently the target of an assassination attempt, South Korean intelligence has said.
The London Telegraph reported that the alleged murder plot may have been the work of a faction loyal to Kim Yong Chol, a four-star general demoted last year before being restored to his previous rank and rehabilitated.
The Telegraph cited the Joong Ang Ilbo newspaper as reporting that an exchange of gunfire in Pyongyang last November may have signaled the attempt.
The Express, meantime, quoted a source as saying:
"It appeared that disgruntled people inside the North moved before the time of the demotion of Kim Yong Chol."
Until recently, Gen. Kim ' who was behind the sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan in March 2010 and the deadly bombing of South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island later that same year ' was considered one of the closest allies of Kim Jong Un.
A power struggle between the intelligence department of the ruling Workers' Party and a division of the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces resulted in his demotion.
However, since the suspected assassination attempt, the general appeared to have been accepted back into Kim Jong Un's inner fold, being promoted back to his original rank and even appeared alongside the young leader at a recent musical recital.