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Yemen frees oil tanker seized by pirates.

Summary: Yemeni special forces on Monday freed a Yemeni oil tanker seized by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden, killing three pirates and capturing at least 11 on board, a government official said.

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Yemeni special forces on Monday freed a Yemeni oil tanker seized by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden, killing three pirates and capturing at least 11 on board, a government official said.

The ship, named Qana, was seized by Somali pirates off Yemen's coast on Sunday but was empty of oil cargo. The deaths on Monday took to five the number of pirates killed as Yemeni forces battled for two days to take back the vessel.

"Yemeni forces have freed an oil tanker that was hijacked by pirates on Sunday and 11 pirates were arrested," a defense ministry statement said, without giving details of how and when the ship was freed. The Qana is now on its way to the Yemeni city of al-Mukalla, it said.

The tanker had been on its way to the southern port city of Aden from Al-Mohra province in eastern Yemen on Sunday when it was seized by the pirates.

Yemeni marine troops were on Sunday able to free other three commercial ships that had also been seized by pirates.

Pirates have made millions of dollars over the past year from seizing ships and taking crews hostage.

According to the International Maritime Bureau, pirate attacks off Somalia increased tenfold in the first three months of this year compared with the same period in 2008, jumping from six to 61.

Yemen, across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia, is a small producer of oil and exports 200,000 barrels per day but is one of the world's poorest countries.

Heavily armed pirates operate high-powered speed boats and sometimes hold ships for weeks before releasing them for large ransoms paid by governments or ship owners.

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Publication:Al Arabiya (Saudi Arabia)
Date:Apr 26, 2009
Words:322
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