The American military will increase its presence near the Horn of Africa within 48 hours, the head of the US Central Command said Thursday. Gen. David Petraeus spoke in West Palm Beach, Florida on Thursday while a hostage standoff with pirates continues off Africa. He did not give specifics, but said "we want to ensure that we have all the capability that might be needed over the course of the coming days." Somali pirates tried to hijack the US-flagged Maersk Alabama on Wednesday, but the crew thwarted the attempt. The armed pirates escaped on one of the ship's lifeboats, taking the Maersk captain hostage.