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FILE - This combination of file photos shows Kim Jong Nam, left, exiled half-brother of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, in Narita, Japan, on May 4, 2001, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on May 9, 2016, in Pyongyang, North Korea. Kim Jong Nam, 46, was targeted Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, in a shopping concourse at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia, and died on the way to the hospital, according to a Malaysian government official. (AP Photos/Shizuo Kambayashi, Wong Maye-E, File)

North Korea and Malaysia imposed dueling travel bans over Kim Jong Nam's death

This abhorrent act, effectively holding our citizens hostage, is in total disregard of all international law and diplomatic norms.
Najib Razak, Malaysian Prime Minister

North Korea blocked Malaysians from leaving the country, retaliating for what it sees as meddling in the investigation into the death of Kim Jong Nam.

Malaysia fired back Tuesday by preventing North Koreans from leaving the country.

Kim Jong Nam died in Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur International Airport Feb. 13. A Malaysia autopsy found the VX nerve agent killed him. But North Korea officially stated a heart attack was the actual cause of death.

While South Korea has described Kim's death as an assassination orchestrated by his half-brother, dictator Kim Jong-Un, Malaysia has not publicly accused North Korea of being involved. But it is still looking for seven North Korean suspects in the case. Officials believe three are likely holed up in the North Korean embassy.

This is way out of normal diplomatic practice.
Lalit Mansingh, Indian legal scholar

Malaysian officials had initially said the ban would only apply to North Korean Embassy staff, but later expanded it to all North Koreans. Malaysia recalled its ambassador to North Korea last month.

Malaysia is one of the few countries where North Koreans can travel without a visa. About 1,000 North Koreans are believed to be working there.

Police say the woman accused of killing Kim Jong Un's half-brother was tricked

WATCH | Kim Jong Nam's death has spawned a bizarre murder case. Two women caught on camera wiping something on his face in the airport said they thought they were involved in a TV prank using baby oil. But Malaysian officials said there is evidence the women were trained killers.

Meanwhile, North Korea has not officially acknowledged that Kim Jong Nam died that day. The nation refers to him by the name on his passport at the time, Kim Chol.

Malaysia said it needs to conduct DNA tests to formally identify the body. But North Korea insists Malaysia has no right to keep a North Korean citizen's body.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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