National Security

April 12, 2009

Decision to fire on pirates came quickly after 5-day standoff

With Somali pirates pointing an automatic rifle at a hostage American ship captain, U.S. Navy sharpshooters opened fire Sunday, killing the pirates and ending an extraordinary five-day standoff that marked the first seizure of a U.S. vessel by pirates on the high seas in at least two centuries. According to Somalis familiar with the situation, the pirates had grown desperate with their situation and hoped only that they'd be allowed to escape if they released the captain. The Americans said no.

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