The rescue of an American ship captain held at gunpoint in a daring operation that left three pirates dead and ended a five-day standoff drew threats of retaliation from angry pirates Monday.
Those threats raised fears for the safety of some 230 foreign sailors still held hostage in more than a dozen ships anchored off the coast of lawless Somalia.
"From now on, if we capture foreign ships and their respective countries try to attack us, we will kill them (the hostages)," Jamac Habeb, a 30-year-old pirate, said from one of Somalia's piracy hubs, Eyl. "(U.S. forces have) become our No. 1 enemy."
A Mogadishu airport staff member said mortar shells were fired toward the airport as a plane carrying U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, D-N.J., took off safely from the Somali capital on Monday.