Israeli naval ship shoots Gaza aid boat

An Israeli naval ship shot a small boat carrying international activists with aid destined for Gaza under Israel siege.

Israeli naval ship shoots Gaza aid boat

An Israeli naval ship shot on Tuesday a small boat carrying international activists with aid destined for Gaza under Israel siege, agencies said.

There were no reported casualties from the shooting involving the small cabin cruiser "Dignity" that sailed from Cyprus late on Monday. One passenger said nobody was hurt.

Free Gaza Movement told Reuters their boat, carrying 3 1/2 tonnes of medical aid with 16 people aboard, was rammed and shot at while in international waters about 70-80 miles off Gaza by Israeli naval vessel.

Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry, denied there had been any shooting, he said the two ships made "physical contact".

Palmor said that an Israeli vessel "clashed with the ship."

Israel said the Free Gaza Movement boat would be prevented to dock in the Gaza Strip.

A passenger on the Free Gaza Movement boat said it was now trying to reach Lebanon after the shooting.

"The boat was hit on its left side. There is a problem with the fuel and we are trying to head to Sidon," said Katia Christodoulou, a photographer for the Cyprus News Agency.

Free Gaza Movement said their boat was safe, but had sustained damage.

Israel declared the coastal territory a "closed military zone" after it launched air attacks on Gaza on Saturday, killing nearly 400 Palestinians.

Hospitals were already facing shortages of medicines and other medical products due to the Israeli siege imposed after the Hamas government seized full control of the territory in 2007.

As well as more than three tonnes of aid, the Dignity was carrying three doctors to help treat the more than 1,400 wounded in recent days.

Agencies

Last Mod: 30 Aralık 2008, 11:58
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