Somali pirates have captured four more ships in the Gulf of Aden, taking more than 60 crew members hostage in apparent retaliation for their five colleagues killed by U.S. and French naval forces during two separate rescues only days apart.
The latest prizes captured by the pirates include a Greek-managed bulk carrier and two Egyptian fishing boats.
Click play for more analysis on this story from CBN News Terror Analyst Erick Stakelbeck.
Meanwhile, Capt. Richard Phillips of the Maersk Alabama, who offered himself as a hostage to save his men will be reunited with all of his 19 crew members Wednesday in the Kenyan Port of Mombassa.
They will then depart by chartered plane, landing at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, according to the the Maersk shipping company. There they will be reunited with family members during a private reception.
After a five-day standoff, U.S. Navy SEALS shot and killed three pirates Sunday night in a dramatic rescue to free Phillips. A fourth pirate was also taken into U.S. custody after surrendering.
Threats of Revenge
The pirates had threatened to avenge their compatriots deaths. The top U.S. military officer said Tuesday he takes those comments seriously.
However, Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told ABC's "Good Morning America" that "we're very well prepared to deal with anything like that."
The International Maritime Bureau says pirate attacks this year have risen to 77 with 286 crewmembers still remaining in pirate's hands. The gulf is a key waterway that's becoming the focal point of the world's fight against piracy.
Obama Vows to Fight Piracy
President Obama is promising to not back down. He says the U.S. will work with nations around the world to tackle the crisis.
A former U.S. Navy seal says the task poses big challenges.
"It is still an extraordinarily difficult problem to combat," the man said. "It's almost impossible to control such a vast area effectively. And ultimately the solution's not a military one, it's a nation-building one within the lawless area that is Somalia.
A flotilla of warships from nearly a dozen