The EU Naval Force (EU Navfor) said it had carried out an overnight raid on Somali pirate targets using helicopters and surveillance aircraft. The Somali-based pirates responded by threatening to kill crew being held on more than a dozen hijacked vessels if they were attacked again.
It was the first time EU Navfor had taken its fight against the pirates to Somali soil since its mandate was expanded earlier this year to allow strikes on land as well as sea. At risk are more than 300 hostages of various nationalies held by the pirates, who have so far generally refrained from killing crew as they seek multi-million dollar ransoms.
A Somali pirate who identified himself as Abdi told Reuters a helicopter attacked the central Somali coastline near Hardhere, a known pirate haven.
"An unidentified helicopter destroyed five of our speedboats early in the morning. There were no casualties. We were setting off from the shore when the helicopter attacked us. We ran away without counter-attacking," he said.
"If we are attacked while with hostages, we shall take any necessary step to save ourselves, we may also kill the hostages if we miss other options to survive," Abdi told Reuters.