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Pirates claim more ship hijacks

MOGADISHU, May 2 – Somali pirates said on Saturday they had captured two ships over the past few hours, including a Ukrainian vessel that was headed to Iran.

"Our boys have captured two ships. One of them is carrying vehicles," said a pirate who gave his name as Hassan, speaking to AFP by phone from the central Somali pirate lair of Haradhere.

"The other is believed to be carrying goods for Somali traders," he said.

A pirate commander speaking on condition of anonymity also from Haradhere said the first ship was "Ukrainian-owned, coming from Brazil and headed to Iran."

There was no immediate confirmation from shipowners and maritime watchdogs.

If confirmed, the latest hijacking would bring to at least 18 the number of ships currently held by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden.

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