PARIS - A French navy vessel has thwarted two attacks by heavily armed Somali pirates in the dangerous Gulf of Aden, just three days after a similar save by the French.

French government officials say the Jean de Vienne intercepted and captured 19 pirates Sunday as they tried to take over two cargo ships - one Croatian and the other Panamanian.

The officials say the pirates had assault rifles, two rockets, and equipment needed to board the vessels.

On Thursday, another French warship intercepted eight pirates as they tried to take over another Panamanian ship in the Gulf of Aden.

In 2008, pirates attacked 111 ships in the waterway, hijacking 42 of them and receiving tens of millions of dollars in ransoms.

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