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South Korea Opposition Leader Lee Jae-myung Stabbed in Neck

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South Korea’s political landscape was shaken on Tuesday when Lee Jae-myung, leader of the country’s main opposition party, was viciously stabbed in the neck during a visit to the southern city of Busan.

The assailant, a man in his sixties, approached Lee under the guise of seeking an autograph before attacking him with an 18 cm (7 inches) long knife purchased online.

The attack unfolded at the construction site of the Gadeokdo New Airport, where Lee was engaging with journalists. Dramatic footage captured the assailant lunging at Lee, leaving him with a 1-centimeter laceration on the left side of his neck. Despite the bloodied scene, Lee remained conscious, but there were concerns about potential damage to his jugular vein.

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Democratic Party spokesperson Kwon Chil-seung revealed that Lee would undergo surgery at Seoul National University Hospital, describing the assault as an act of “terrorism” and “a serious threat to democracy.” The incident prompted swift condemnation from South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol, who expressed deep concern for Lee’s safety and ordered a prompt police investigation.

The attacker was swiftly apprehended at the scene, and police disclosed that he had purchased the knife online. The motive behind the attack remains unclear, but the sheer brazenness of the assault has raised concerns about the safety of political figures in the country.

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As news of the attack spread, a small crowd gathered outside the Seoul National University Hospital, where Lee was transferred. Amid heavy police presence, supporters shouted words of encouragement, reflecting the tension and uncertainty surrounding the situation.

South Korea’s national police agency responded by pledging to enhance personal protection for “key personnel” to prevent similar incidents in the future. The attack comes at a time of heightened political polarization in the country, with deep divides between conservative and liberal factions.

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Lee Jae-myung, a liberal former provincial governor, had narrowly lost the presidential election to Yoon Suk Yeol earlier in the year. Since then, he had taken on the role of Democratic Party leader, gearing up for the upcoming parliamentary elections in April.

As the nation awaits further details about the motive behind this shocking attack, South Korea’s political landscape faces renewed scrutiny and concern for the safety of its leaders.

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