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A number of people are reported to have been killed in an operation by French forces to free hostages being held by pirates off Somalia. President Nicholas Sarkozy’s office has been quoted as saying one hostage and two of the pirates were killed in the raid.

Four other hostages, including a child, were said to have been rescued, while three pirates were captured. But the exact circumstances of the operation remain unclear. The yahct Tanit was seized by pirates in the Gulf of Aden on Saturday.

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