New York – Israeli warships opened fire on a Palestinian boat off the coast of Gaza early on Monday, reportedly killing four people.
The Israeli military said it fired on armed Palestinian men wearing diving suits who they said were on the way to attack Israeli targets.
The Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported that the shooting took place off the coast of Nuseirat, in the central Gaza Strip. Citing medics, Ma’an identified the four men as members of the Al-Aqsa Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah.
According to a Health Ministry spokesman in Gaza quoted by Ma’an the four were Fayez Al-Fieri, 21, from Jabaliya refugee camp, Muhammad Quider, 34, Ibrahim Wehidi, 25, and Hamed Thabet.
Ma’an also reported that two people survived the shooting. The Palestinian naval police also said two people are still missing, according to The Associated Press.
Medical officials in Gaza, quoted by Al Jazeera television, said the four were fishermen.
Palestinian health official Moawiya Hassanain told The Associated Press four bodies in diving suits were retrieved by a rescue team.
The apparent attack comes a week after Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish civilians onboard an international aid convoy on its way to Gaza. On Saturday Israeli forces intercepted another boat before it could reach Gaza. The raid on the aid flotilla caused a huge wave of international criticism.
Also on Monday, Israeli soldiers detained three Palestinians during nighttime raids in the West Bank. Three of the detainees came from the town of Beit Ummar, south of Bethlehem.