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North Korea fired Taepodong missile which failed

Written by: Staff
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WASHINGTON, July 4 (Reuters) North Korea launched a long-range Taepodong-2 missile and two small Scud-type missiles within a two-hour period, but the long-range missile appears to have failed, a diplomatic source told Reuters today.

CNN also reported that a Taepodong had been fired.

The Taepodong 2 missile, which had been under intense scrutiny by the United States and other western powers, appeared to have failed in flight, the diplomatic source said.

A Pentagon official told Reuters North Korea appeared also to have launched at least two small Scud-type missiles, but not the intercontinental ballistic missile that has been a focus of international concern.

''This appears not to be the launch of the missile that's been so widely reported of late,'' said the official, who asked not to named. He referred to the small missiles as ''lesser variety'' Scud types.

The official spoke before reports that the third, long-range Taepodong missile firing had been reported.

Japan's NHK TV reported the first of the two smaller missiles landed in the Sea of Japan about 375 miles (600 km) from Japan.

A Japanese government official confirmed the launch but said it was unclear if it was a Taepodong ballistic missile.

Japan's Defense Minister reported separately that a second missile had been fired, according to NHK.

An Air Force facility protecting the nerve center of US homeland defense at Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, had been on heightened alert, the US military said, amid persistent reports that North Korea may be set to test-fire the long-range missile.

MORE REUTERS DH VP0300

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