BEIRUT

Middle East

Israeli navy sinks suspected Gaza smugglers' boats

A picture taken from the Palestinian side, shows an Israeli marine police boat patrolling (background) close to the Egyptian maritime border, as Palestinian fishermen sit in their boat off the shores of the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, on the Mediterranean Sea, on March 26, 2014. AFP PHOTO SAID KHATIB

GAZA CITY: The Israeli military says navy ships have opened fire on two suspected Palestinian smuggling boats off the Gaza coast. Both vessels sank after an explosion following the shooting.

The military says the boats were spotted coming from Egyptian waters in an apparent smuggling attempt. The navy called on them to stop, firing warning shots. When the boat failed to comply, the military says the navy fired at the boats, which set off an explosion on Wednesday.

Gaza's Hamas government says the boats were destroyed and three fishermen were lightly wounded. It's unclear how many were on board.

The military says the navy ships came under fire from Gaza after the incident but no damage was reported.

Israel and Egypt have imposes a naval blockade on Gaza to prevent weapon smuggling.

 

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