South Koreans pull off daring rescue of pirated ship By the CNN Wire Staff January 21, 2011 -- Updated 1631 GMT (0031 HKT) Pirate hijacking foiled STORY HIGHLIGHTS The South Korean navy rescued 21 sailors, killed eight pirates and captured five The freighter was on its way to Sri Lanka when it was seized by Somali pirates South Korea's president praises the bold rescue operation Seoul, South Korea (CNN) -- It was code named "Dawn of Gulf of Aden" and when South Korea gave it a green light Friday, its daring execution led to five hours of chilling drama on the high seas. A South Korean navy destroyer and Lynx helicopters fired warning shots as elite forces, in pre-dawn darkness, silently approached the deck of the freighter Samho Jewelry, hijacked by Somali pirates Saturday, according to the Yonhap news agency. The pirates fired with their AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades. The South Koreans shot back. When it was all over, the South Koreans rescued 21 sailors, killed eight pirates and captured five others, said Lt. Gen. Lee Sung-ho, a spokesman for South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff. Demystifying modern-day pirates RELATED TOPICS Somali Pirates South Korea The captain of the 11,500-ton ship was shot in the stomach during the rescue but no other crew member was hurt. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak praised the bold rescue in a nationally televised address. "Our military carried out the operation perfectly under difficult circumstances," he said. "We will not accept any actions that threaten the lives of our people." Lee said the U.S. military also assisted in the operation.