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US navy rescues 13 Iranian fishermen held by Somali pirates

Washington, Sat, 07 Jan 2012 ANI

Washington, Jan 7 (ANI): The United States Navy has rescued 13 Iranian fishermen held hostage by Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea.


An SH-60S Seahawk from an American destroyer USS Kidd detected the pirates while a simultaneous distress call was received from the Iranian-flagged Al Molai fishing vessel on Thursday.


The US forces detained 15 suspected pirates who had been holding a 13-member Iranian crew hostage for several weeks, Fox News reports.


"The Al Molai had been taken over by pirates for roughly the last 40 to 45 days," said Josh Schminky, a Navy Criminal Investigative Service agent aboard the Kidd.


"They were held hostage, with limited rations, and we believe were forced against their will to assist the pirates with other piracy operations," he added.


The pirates were detained until transferred to the USS John C. Stennis, where the matter will be reviewed for prosecution, the report said.


According to the Navy, Iranian boat had been pirated and used as a "mother ship" for pirate operations throughout the Persian Gulf.


The Iranian fishermen were rescued despite rising tensions between Washington and Tehran.


Earlier this week the US responded to an Iranian military leader's warning to keep an American carrier out of the Persian Gulf, declaring that the US will continue its deployment in the region. (ANI)


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