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Somali Pirates Release Egyptian Ship

Egyptian officials say Somali pirates have released an Egyptian cargo ship and its 28-member crew after more than two months in captivity.

The officials say the cargo ship Blue Star was released Thursday following negotiations with the captors. It is not clear whether a ransom was paid.

The officials say the ship was seized on New Year's Day by 15 pirates as it passed by the coast of Somalia. The vessel carried a cargo of 6,000 tons of fertilizer.

Somali pirates hijacked more than 40 ships in 2008, sometimes getting millions of dollars in ransom for their release.

The attacks have prompted a number of countries, including the United States and China, to begin conducting naval patrols near Somalia.

The ships have stopped several pirate attacks, most recently on Tuesday, when the crew of a German frigate arrested nine pirates who had fired on a cargo ship.

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