Attempted hijacking of Italian cruise ship by Muslim pirates off Somali coast

Israeli security guards aboard opened fire and the Muslim pirates turned tail and fled the scene. Domenico Pellegrino, head of the Italian cruise line, said they hired the Israelis because they are the best trained security agents in the world.

Israeli private security guards exchanged fire with pirates who attacked an Italian cruiseship with 1,500 people on board far off the coast of Somalia, and drove them away, the ship’s commander said Sunday.

Cmdr. Ciro Pinto told Italian state radio that six men in a small white boat approached the Msc Melody and opened fire Saturday night, but retreated after the Israeli security officers aboard the cruiseship returned fire. “It felt like we were in war,” Pinto said.

None of the roughly 1,000 passengers and 500 crew members were hurt, Melody owner Msc Cruises said in a statement issued by its German branch. Pinto said the pirates fired with automatic weapons, slightly damaging the liner, and tried to put a ladder on board. But he said they were unable to climb aboard. JERUSALEM POST