France’s navy stormed a hijacked French boat off the Somali coast today after pirates threatened to execute the hostages, France’s defence minister said.
One hostage and two pirates were killed during the assault.
A presidential statement said four hostages were freed.
Defence Minister Herve Morin told a news conference that French authorities had proposed a ransom but the pirates rejected the offer.
He said “negotiations were leading nowhere, and the boat was approaching the coast”,
It is the government’s policy not to allow French citizens to be taken ashore as hostages.
He said French President Nicolas Sarkozy gave the order to attack, which came at 3.30pm Paris time (1.30pm GMT).