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Yemeni Forces Free Tanker From Pirates

Yemen's military has freed an oil tanker and its crew from Somali pirates, killing three of the hijackers.

Yemen's Defense Ministry says commandos stormed the vessel early Monday and re-took it from the pirates, who had seized the empty tanker Sunday near the Yemeni coast as it traveled to the port town of Aden.

In a statement, the ministry says five members of the crew, one of them an Indian national, were wounded in the fighting. Reports from Yemen say the military captured at least four and as many as 11 pirates.

In a separate battle Sunday, Yemeni forces freed three smaller ships the pirates had hijacked. Yemen says two more pirates were killed in that fighting.

Somali pirates have hijacked at least 10 ships this month despite increased international naval patrols.

On Sunday, the pirates released a Yemeni freighter with 15 crew members they had been holding since early January.

But the pirates are still holding some 15 ships with more than 270 hostages.