The Navy escorted a suspicious Palestinian sea vessel to a naval port in Ashdod
on Sunday after the boat failed to heed orders to return to its allocated
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said the Palestinian fishing boat from
Gaza had swerved from Gazan territorial waters, and that a Navy boat first asked
it to turn back.
After the request was ignored, shots were fired at the
Palestinian boat's engine, striking it. No injuries were reported.
vessel was towed to Ashdod and its occupants were questioned by security
The altercation comes only a week after the Israeli Navy
released the HS Beethoven cargo ship which commandos had boarded in search of
arms it suspected were being smuggled from Lebanon to the Gaza Strip. Commandos
from the Navy’s Flotilla 13 – better known as the Shayetet – boarded the ship as
it was sailing from Beirut to Alexandria, Egypt.
Israel’s concern was
that the Beethoven was carrying weapons for either Hamas or Islamic Jihad in
Gaza. Last March, the navy intercepted a cargo ship called Victoria that was
carrying some 50 tons of weaponry and was on its way to Egypt. It was also
flying a Liberian flag and was headed to Alexandria.
Efforts to stop
Iranian arms from being smuggled to Hamas and Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah in
Lebanon are nonstop and include operations not just in the Mediterranean but
also in the Red Sea.
Other western naval forces frequently assist Israel in
patrolling the seas and in questioning suspicious vessels.
Yaakov Katz and JPOST.COM STAFF contributed to this story.