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Yemen upholds 10-year jail for 11 Somali pirates

An appeals court upheld the sentence for those convicted of trying to hijack a ship in Yemeni water

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An appeals court in the southern port of Aden upheld a 10-year jail term Sunday for 11 Somali pirates convicted of trying to hijack a ship in Yemeni waters.

The group were convicted by a lower court in 2010 of hijacking a "foreign ship" in February 2009, using AK-47 assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and a ladder of the type used by pirates to board vessels.

Heavily armed pirates using high-powered speedboats have operated in the Gulf of Aden for years, preying on ships and at times holding them for weeks before releasing them for large ransoms paid by governments or shipowners.

However, the number of pirate attacks has diminished since international warships began patrolling waters off the Horn of Africa.