Six suspected pirates were captured after shooting at an oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden along the coastline of Somalia, according to officials, raising concerns about a rising number of piracy attacks in the region.

A European Union naval force nabbed the pirates after they opened fire at the Marshall Islands-flagged Chrystal Arctic in the body of water that connects the Red Sea and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a major shipping channel. The pirates exchanged fire with a security team onboard the Crystal Arctic before abandoning an attempt to hijack the tanker.

The pirates traveled in a small ship “carrying weapons and ladders,” said the British military’s Maritime Trade Operations center, which oversees Mideast shipping routes. The pirates were armed with Kalashnikov-style rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, according to private security firm Ambrey.

The tanker crew was unharmed, but the pirates sustained varied injuries, though it wasn’t clear if they were due to the shootout.

The incident comes as Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels have been attacking ships traveling through the waterway for months in an twisted show of support for Hamas’ war with Israel.

Piracy off Somalia’s coast was once rampant, but lessened in recent years after an international effort to patrol the shipping lanes near the country.

Source: New York Post

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