Iranian fishing boat seized by Al Shabaab

Al-Shabaab are holding 14 crew members of an Iranian fishing boat off the coast of Somalia, seizing them as their vessel washed ashore.

The group detained the fishermen after the vessel drifted into their stronghold on Wednesday, residents of El-Dher town have confirmed to Associated Press.

On Wednesday, the Iranian state television station news bar announced the kidnapping, saying the vessel owned by an Iranian fishing organization developed a technical fault near the Somali coast without giving further details.

Piracy off the coast of Somalia was a serious threat to the global shipping industry, but attacks have dropped dramatically the last several years after ships began carrying armed guards.

Despite losing some of its top leaders in US air strikes and being pushed by African Union forces out of the capital, Mogadishu, al-Shabaab still has control over territory in south and central Somalia.