On Friday, an Italian naval helicopter was attacked by suspected pirates while patrolling off the east coast of Somalia. A window of the helicopter was hit, leaving the pilot with minor injuries.
The shots, fired from a small boat, hit the window of the helicopter, shattering glass shards that struck one of the pilots in the neck. The boat that the shots were fired from is now suspected to have been attacked and hijacked by pirates.
Because there may have been hostages with the pirates, the helicopter did not return fire. The Italian pilots were taking part in a European Union counter-piracy operation, Atalanta.
The helicopter was able to safely return to it’s ship, San Giusto, where the helicopter underwent repairs and the pilot received medical treatment.
The international naval presence has been the only thing to successfully combat piracy east of Africa, which has become an international problem and a very lucrative organized crime enterprise. NATO has increased international efforts since July, which they are asserting is helping the issue.