NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- A U.S. military spokesman said Wednesday it was possible that 15 pirates detained after the killing of four American yacht enthusiasts could be sent to the United States to face trial.
The military, FBI and Justice Department are working to figure out the next steps for the pirates, said Bob Prucha, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command in Florida. The 15 are currently being held on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, which is in the waters off East Africa.
A pirate aboard the hijacked yacht Quest on Tuesday fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a U.S. warship that had responded to the hijacking. Then gunfire broke out aboard the yacht. When Navy special forces reached the yacht, they found the four American hostages had been shot and killed.
The FBI is investigating the killings. Prucha couldn't say if agents had yet questioned the pirates.
The killings came less than a week after a Somali pirate was sentenced to more than 33 years in prison by a New York court for the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama. That attack ended when Navy sharpshooters killed two pirates holding the Maersk Alabama's captain.
Pirates reacted angrily to the sentencing and have since vowed that they will kill hostages before being captured during military raids and being sent to face trial.