In this photo taken Monday, March 6, 2017, fishermen stand on the Indian Ocean beach at dusk in the former pirate village of Eyl, in Somalia's semiautonomous northeastern state of Puntland. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
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Yemen's worsening conflict is contributing to a spike in piracy in the region, with Somali pirates taking advantage of a reduced international naval presence and more readily available weaponry to carry out attacks.Attacks on merchant ships in recent weeks by Somali gangs around the Gulf of Aden, the first since 2012, have raised fears of a return to hijackings and crews being taken hostage for long periods.This is partially driven by the risk of famine and drought in the region, navy officials said, adding there have been around six incidents involving Somali pirates and international merchant ships in recent weeks.Separately, Somali pirates held the Sri Lankan crew of a Comoros-flagged ship hostage before they were released.
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