North Korea accuses South Korea of trying to kill Kim Jong Il

North Korea claimed Thursday that it has arrested a South Korean-hired agent it strongly suggested was tasked with assassinating the country's absolute leader, Kim Jong Il. The North's Ministry of State Security said in a statement it had arrested a North Korean on a "terrorist mission" ordered by a South Korean intelligence organization "to do harm to the top leader" of North Korea. The National Intelligence Service, South Korea's main spy agency, said it was checking the claim. The sensational allegation comes amid a serious worsening of relations between the divided Koreas as well as intense speculation about Kim's health since he reportedly suffered a stroke and had brain surgery in August.