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Puntland Forces Kill Pirates in Raid on Ship


Officials say forces from northern Somalia have killed two pirates during a raid on a hijacked cargo ship.

Ali Abdi Aware, foreign minister of Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region, says his region's troops exchanged fire with pirates Sunday aboard the MV Awail.

Aware says the pirates retained control of the vessel but that Puntland forces are chasing it. He says one soldier was killed in the fighting while two pirates and another soldier were wounded.

Pirates hijacked the cargo vessel on Thursday. The ship, which is carrying cement, is believed to have Syrian and Somali crew onboard.

Somali pirates have hijacked more than 30 ships in all this year, freeing them for ransoms that sometimes exceed $1 million.

Negotiations continue for a hijacked Ukrainian ship MV Faina carrying 33 tanks and other heavy weapons. U.S. warships have been monitoring that ship and the pirates' activities for more than a week.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.