US to head anti-pirate patrols off Somalia - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

US to head anti-pirate patrols off Somalia

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- The U.S. Navy says one of its commanders will lead a new international force to battle pirates off the coast of Somalia.

More than 20 nations are expected to take part in the mission once it is fully under way later this month. The announcement Thursday by U.S. Navy officials in Bahrain did not list the countries participating, but said the force will be headed by U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Terence McKnight.

Merchant fleets have been calling for a stronger military response to pirates after a sharp escalation in attacks last year. At least 111 ships were attacked and more than 40 of them commandeered.

It is not clear whether the new anti-pirate force will have any expanded powers to battle pirates.

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