South Korea has returned fire after North Korea shelled the South Korean island of Yeonpueong Island killing a South Korean soldier and injuring 13 others.

Two civilians are believed to be among the injured and several houses were reported to be on fire.

The attack comes amid tensions over North Korea’s claim that it has a new nuclear programme and is the first artillery strike on South Korean soil since 1953.

In March this year North Korea allegedly sunk a South Korean warship causing the death of 46 sailors but this recent attack raises the stakes in the increasingly tense stand-off between the two countries by targeting civilians.

South Korea’s military has been put on high alert in response to the shelling.

North Korea has made no comment.