In an episode that evokes memories of Cold War era spy sagas, Kim Jong Nam—the half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un—appears to have been assassinated on February 13 at Kuala Lumpur's airport in Malaysia.
Reports indicate that two female agents, with probable connections to North Korea's security services, poisoned the estranged sibling with lethal toxins.
Malaysian authorities are also holding a North Korean suspect and have released the names of several North Korean suspects thought to have fled the country after the killing.
Meanwhile, there has been a diplomatic standoff between Kuala Lumpur and Pyongyang with both sides accusing the other of interference in the investigation.
There are a host of potential reasons why Kim Jong-un wanted to eliminate his seemingly harmless brother—but the most probable was his paranoia and ruthless pursuit of political legitimacy at home.
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