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A Somali man has admitted attacking a US warship in April after mistaking it for a merchant vessel.

Jama Idle Ibrahim and five others chased the USS Ashland and opened fire on it before being captured, court papers said.

He pleaded guilty to piracy-related charges in Norfolk, Virginia, and faces 30 years in jail. Five other Somalis also face charges over the attack

Prosecutors said it was Norfolk’s first piracy-related conviction in 150 years.

“Modern-day pirates must be held accountable,” said Neil MacBride, prosecuting.

After making a deal with the authorities, Ibrahim pleaded guilty to attacking to plunder a vessel, engaging in an act of violence against people on a vessel, and using a firearm during a crime of violence.

Both Ibrahim and the authorities had agreed to a 30-year jail term, and he faces a sentencing hearing on 29 November.

Earlier this month a judge had dismissed a piracy charge – which carries a mandatory life sentence – against Ibrahim and his five alleged accomplices.

The gang had chased the USS Ashland in a skiff in the Gulf of Aden on 10 April, opening fire on it.

US Navy personnel returned fire, killing one Somali and wrecking the men’s skiff, prosecutors said.

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Article courtesy bbc.co.uk