Armed individuals attempted to access the M/V Central Park's crew cabin (Representational)
The United States detained five people believed to be Somali nationals after they boarded a tanker ship off Yemen, the Pentagon said Monday.
The five armed individuals left the M/V Central Park tanker, which is linked to an Israel-affiliated company, after a US destroyer and allied ships responded and demanded the vessel's release.
"Five armed individuals... attempted to flee via their small boat. The Mason pursued the attackers, resulting in their eventual surrender," Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder told journalists, referring to the USS Mason destroyer.
"Initial indications are that these five individuals are Somali," Ryder said, describing it as "clearly a piracy related incident."
After boarding the ship on Sunday, the armed individuals attempted to access the M/V Central Park's crew cabin, but the crew were able to lock themselves in a safe area, he said.
The attempted ship seizure was followed by the launch of two ballistic missiles from an area controlled by Iran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen.
The missiles landed about 10 nautical miles from the Mason and Central Park without causing damage to the ships, Ryder said, declining to speculate on whether the two incidents were linked.
The Huthis have launched a series of drone and missile strikes targeting Israel since the unprecedented October 7 attack by Hamas militants on the country that Israeli authorities say killed about 1,200 people.
Gaza's Hamas government says that some 15,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Israeli aerial bombardment and ground operations in the Palestinian territory since the war began.
Those deaths have provoked widespread anger in the Middle East and provided an impetus for attacks against American troops in the region as well as Israel by armed groups opposed to both.
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