"In an unprecedented rescue operation, South Korean naval special forces raided a hijacked [South Korean] freighter in the Arabian Sea Friday, freeing all 21 crewmen and killing eight Somali pirates," Yonhap News writes.
The news agency adds that:
President Lee Myung-bak praised the bold operation in a nationally televised address, saying, 'Our military carried out the operation perfectly under difficult circumstances. I appreciate it and send a message of encouragement'."
According to NPR staff and other wire services:
"The top-secret operation reportedly lasted about five hours, and photographs from the raid show commandos crouching on the deck of the Samho Jewelry, which was captured by pirates on Jan. 15. Commandos scrambled up a ladder onto the ship, aboard which the pirates were armed with AK assault rifles and anti-tank missiles. A South Korean destroyer and hovering Lynx helicopter provided covering fire."
The Associated Press adds this video report: