A U.S. navy ship has rescued 13 Iranians being held hostage by pirates in the Arabian Sea.
The U.S. Navy announced Friday that it encountered the pirates’ skiff and the Iranian fishing vessel, the Al Molai, on Thursday after receiving a distress call from the Iranian vessel. In a statement, the navy said a team of military personnel from the destroyer USS Kidd boarded the Iranian vessel, or dhow, and detained 15 pirates who were holding the Iranians hostage.
The statement said the Iranian vessel had been under the control of the pirates for more than a month and was being used as a headquarters for pirate operations. It said the hostages are believed to have been forced to help with piracies.
The Navy said the Iranians were given food and medical care before being released, and are now on their way home.
The pirates — believed to be Somalis — are in detention at sea on a U.S. aircraft carrier .
Iran has recently threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, in the Persian Gulf, and warned the U.S. not to operate aircraft carriers in the area — something it routinely does. U.S. officials have made clear that operations will continue as usual in the Gulf.