European Union naval forces on Tuesday struck Somali pirate targets on the coast of the country in the first raids by the European force on the Somali mainland.
‚ÄúWe believe this action by the EU Naval Force will further increase the pressure on, and disrupt pirates‚Äô efforts to get out to sea to attack merchant shipping and dhows," Rear Adm. Duncan Potts, operational commander of the force, said in a statement.
Several pirate attack skiffs, the small boats pirates use to attack merchant vessels in the open ocean, were destroyed in the raid, said Timo Lange, media officer at the naval force's headquarters in England.
No Somalis were injured in the raid, which was conducted entirely by air, the force's statement said.
"The local Somali people and fishermen ‚Äď many of whom have suffered so much because of piracy in the region, can be reassured that our focus was on known pirate supplies and will remain so in the future," Potts said in the statement.
On March 23, the Council of the European Union said the naval force would be permitted to attack pirate installations on shore.
The force currently has nine warships and five maritime patrol aircraft operating off Somalia under Operation ATALANTA, which began in December 2008.
In April, the International Maritime Bureau reported that pirate attacks off Somalia had decreased dramatically during the first quarter of the year as compared to a year earlier.