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Terrorism & Security

Somali pirates launch failed attack on second US vessel

The ship escaped an assault that may have been rooted in revenge for three pirates' deaths during the US Navy's rescue Sunday of the Maersk Alabama's captain.

By David Montero / April 15, 2009

The destroyer USS Bainbridge came to the aid of the MV Liberty Sun and the Maersk Alabama, both attacked recently by pirates off the coast of Somalia.

US Navy/AP/File

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Pirates in Somalia tried unsuccessfully Wednesday to hijack another American vessel, following vows to increase attacks on American interests. The incident, which comes days after Somalian militants fired on a visiting US congressman, highlights the challenge that an increasingly unstable Somalia poses for the Obama administration.

Wednesday's attack took place in the early morning hours off the Gulf of Aden, The Guardian reports.

The ship managed to out-maneuver the pirates before being assisted by the USS Bainbridge, "the navy destroyer involved in the rescue last week of another American cargo ship," reports The New York Times.

Following the rescue of Mr. Phillips, Somalian pirates vowed to take revenge, according to Al Jazeera.

A series of what are probably retaliatory strikes against American targets has followed, of which today's failed hijacking is the latest. Following the rescue of Phillips, Somali pirates captured four ships and took more than 60 crew members hostage in a brazen hijacking spree, reports the Associated Press.

Also, on Monday, militants in Mogadishu fired on a plane carrying US Rep. Donald Payne (D) of New Jersey. They failed to down the plane, and Mr. Payne escaped unharmed. But the attack was a sharp reminder that "although the recent focus on Somalia has been on piracy, the bigger threat comes from terrorists operating onshore," a former FBI supervisor with experience in Somalia writes in The Wall Street Journal.

The Christian Science Monitor reported earlier this week that, as calls mount to address the piracy issue, efforts involving force might only push the pirates and Islamist militants closer together.

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