EU Strikes Somali Pirates
First mainland raid a success
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2012 7:10 AM CDT
Photo taken on November 18, 2009 shows the Kota Wajar (L) and the Delvina [R] which were seized by pirates 300-miles off the Seychelles anchored off Haradhere in north Somalia.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – The European Union launched its first raid on mainland Somali pirate bases overnight, destroying five of their boats using warships and helicopters. The naval attack was the first under an expanded Operation Atalanta, which gave the EU power to attack both land and sea targets. Last night’s attack focused on bases near the port of Haradhere.

Somali pirates are believed to be holding 17 ships and 300 crew, and anti-piracy forces have been wary of attacking mainland bases for fear of harming those captured crew members. Last night’s raid, carried out with the Somali government’s support, was a significant step in the fight against piracy, the BBC notes. European forces say no Somalis were hurt during the mission and all EU forces returned safely.