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A man watches a television showing news reports of Kim Jong-Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, in Seoul on February 14, 2017.

'Reign of Terror'

2 female assassins reportedly kill brother of Kim Jong-un in Malaysia

February 14, 2017

Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was murdered at an airport in Malaysia, reports say. It is believed that he was poisoned by two female North Korean operatives.

According to Al Jazeera, a 46-year-old man traveling under the name Kim Chol became ill at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, and has since died. Malaysian police “strongly” believe that the deceased is Kim Jong-nam. South Korean government sources have also told media outlets that the victim is the brother of Kim Jong-un, the BBC reports.

TV Chosun, a South Korean cable television network, claimed that two women, believed to be North Korean operatives, poisoned Kim with a needle and subsequently fled the scene by taxi. Alternate reports from Malaysian officials say that Kim was attacked with a chemical spray, according to the Chicago Tribune.

TV Chosun also said that Kim Jong-un may have ordered the assassination, due to fears that his brother posed a political threat.

Kim Jong-nam was the eldest son of deceased North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. According to The New York Times, he was once poised to inherit his father’s dynasty. But Kim Jong-nam may have fallen from favor after he was arrested for trying to travel to Disneyland Tokyo with a fake visa. Other analysts have said that Kim Jong-nam was passed over because his father preferred Ko Young-hee, the mother of Kim Jong-un.

Since coming to power in 2011, Kim Jong-un has purged a number of high-ranking government officials, in what the South Korean government has deemed a “reign of terror.” Family members have not been exempt from Kim Jong-un’s wrath. In 2013, his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, was executed after being convicted of treason.