The 5 gunmen who attacked a chemical tanker within the Gulf of Aden on Sunday and had been later captured by the U.S. Navy had been Somali pirates, American officers mentioned Monday.
The 5 had been within the custody of the U.S. Navy and had been being questioned, U.S. officers mentioned. The officers mentioned the Somali pirates had no obvious connection to Iran or to Houthi rebels in Yemen, who’re supported by Tehran.
Greater than 16 hours after the tried takeover of the tanker, two ballistic missiles had been fired from Houthi-controlled elements of Yemen towards the positioning of the tried hijacking, although the missiles landed 10 nautical miles away from the united statesS. Mason, the ship that responded to the tried piracy and captured the gunmen.
A U.S. official mentioned that episode was nonetheless being investigated to see if it was an opportunistic assault by Houthi rebels or if the missile strike was unrelated.
The usS. Mason, and different ships from the U.S.-led counter-piracy process power that operates off the coast of Somalia, responded Sunday morning after the crew of the industrial ship, the Central Park, referred to as for assist. The Central Park crew reported they had been below assault from an unknown entity, U.S. Central Command mentioned Sunday.
When the coalition vessels arrived on the Central Park, they demanded the discharge of the ship. 5 armed folks fled from the ship and tried to flee within the small boat they’d used to assault the cargo ship. The usS. Mason pursued the attackers and compelled them to give up, the information launch mentioned.
Regional tensions have intensified since Hamas’s Oct. 7 assault on Israel. However after their preliminary questioning of the captured gunmen, U.S. officers concluded that the assault on Sunday was unrelated to the battle.
Complicating the preliminary evaluation was the truth that Houthi rebels attacked a number of industrial vessels final week within the Crimson Sea,which connects to the Gulf of Aden. The Houthis and different teams backed by Iran, together with Hezbollah in Lebanon, have elevated assaults on Israel since Oct. 7.
However Sunday’s assault within the Gulf of Aden befell properly away from the place the Houthis function.
Somali pirates have been a hazard to worldwide transport for almost 20 years. Defending industrial shipments from such assaults is why the U.S. helped create the worldwide coalition of navies that patrol a transport hall within the Gulf of Aden.
Zodiac Maritime, the London-based firm that manages the vessel, mentioned that the ship and crew at the moment are protected and unhurt however supplied few additional particulars. Zodiac Maritime is led by Eyal Ofer, an Israeli-born transport magnate.