A helicopter gunship swooped over the Somali coast yesterday in a major escalation of international efforts to protect shipping lanes.
The craft took off from one of several ships in an EU armada offshore, blasting pirate skiffs on a beach in the central Galmudug region. No Somalis were injured.
It marks the first time an international naval force sent to protect the approaches to the Red Sea has targeted pirate assets on land. The move follows the EU's authorisation in March of strikes on pirate assets stored on land.
"This action by the EU Naval Force will further increase the pressure on, and disrupt pirates' efforts to get out to sea to attack merchant shipping and dhows," said the EU force's commander, Rear Admiral Duncan Potts.
* Agence France-Presse