North Korea's military on Monday threatened "special actions" soon to turn parts of the South Korean capital to ashes, accusing Seoul's conservative government of defaming its leadership.
The North has for months been criticising the South's President Lee Myung-Bak in extreme terms and threatening "sacred war" over perceived insults. There have been no incidents but the language has become increasingly vitriolic. Some analysts said they believe a military provocation is likely.
"The special actions of our revolutionary armed forces will start soon to meet the reckless challenge of the group of traitors," said a statement on the official news agency.
The North said its targets are "the Lee Myung-Bak roup of traitors, the arch criminals, and the group of rat-like elements including conservative media destroying the mainstay of the fair public opinion".
It said the actions "will reduce all... to ashes in three or four minutes... by unprecedented peculiar means and methods of our own style".