An Israeli naval ship clashed on Tuesday with a small boat carrying foreign activists with aid directed for Gaza Strip, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said. According to Reuters, Israel declared the coastal territory a closed military zone.
There were no reported casualties from the incident involving the small cabin cruiser "Dignity" that sailed from Cyprus late on Monday. One passenger said nobody was wounded.
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 some 70-80 miles off Gaza by Israeli naval vessel. There were Europeans and Americans on board.
Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry, denied there had been any shooting although he said the two ships made "physical contact". According to Palmor, the boat failed to respond to Israeli naval radio contact. Thus, an Israeli vessel "clashed with the ship."
Israel said the Free Gaza Movement boat would not be permitted to dock in the Gaza Strip.
A passenger on the Free Gaza Movement boat said it was now attempting to reach Lebanon after the incident.