Kim Jong-un is trying to avoid being assassinated

By Julian Ryall The Telegraph

Kim Jong-un, the North Korean dictator, is "extremely nervous" about plots to assassinate him, according to South Korea's intelligence agency, and uses a number of ruses to foil would-be assailants.

As well as being fearful of an attack by gunmen on the vehicles that he uses to travel around the country, Mr Kim is also constantly worried about an airstrike, officials of the National Intelligence Service told a restricted session of the South Korean parliament on Thursday, Yonhap News reported.

"Kim is engrossed with collecting information about the 'decapitation operation' through his intelligence agencies", said Lee Cheol-woo, an opposition politician who attended the meeting.

He added that Mr Kim has taken to travelling at dawn and switches between different subordinates' cars instead of always travelling in his own Mercedes-Benz.

Mr Kim's concerns have soared since it was reported earlier this year that the US and South Korea are setting up a special forces unit that would be tasked with eliminating the North Korean leadership in the event of war breaking out on the peninsula.

In March, members of the US Navy's Seal Team Six - which carried out the raid in which Osama Bin Laden was killed - took part in exercises with South Korean special forces, along with elements of the US Army's Rangers, Delta Force and Green Berets units.

The US made it clear that the units were training to carry out a "decapitation operation" designed to kill the North's leaders and destroy the regime's ability to continue fighting.

In May, Pyongyang claimed to have foiled a CIA plot for a North Korean who had been "ideologically corrupted and bribed" to assassinate Mr Kim with a "biochemical substance" and accused the US of conducting state-sponsored terrorism.

Aside from external threats to Mr Kim's life, there are reports of a number of attempted coups against the Kim family, which has ruled the North since 1945.

Personal security around Mr Kim was dramatically stepped up in March 2013, according to intelligence sources in South Korea, with armoured vehicles deployed close to his personal residence in Pyongyang, troops armed with automatic rifles on the streets of the city and mobile phone signals jammed at public events that the North Korean leader attended, apparently out of concern that they could be used to detonate a bomb.

Four months previously, there were reports of outbreaks of gunfire on the streets of the North Korean capital between factions within the military and heightened discontent in some quarters with the way in which Mr Kim was managing the country.

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