The North Korean military general believed behind two attacks on South Korea that killed 50 people in 2010 has died. He was 77.

The North's main Rodong sinmun newspaper said Monday that Kim Kyok Sik died of an acute respiratory failure on Sunday.

Kim is the former commander of battalions who South Korean officials say directed North Korea's torpedo attack on a South Korean warship in March 2010 and its artillery strikes on a South Korean border island in November that year.

North Korea has denied its responsibility for the attacks on the ship.

South Korean economic sanctions imposed after the North's alleged torpedo attack are still a source of tension between the rival Koreas divided along the world's most heavily fortified border.