An Israeli naval patrol killed at least four Palestinian militants in diving gear off the Gaza coast on Monday, Hamas security officials and the Israeli army said.
“An Israeli naval patrol spotted a boat with four men in diving suits on their way to carry out a terror attack and fired at them,” an Israeli army spokesperson said, adding that the patrol had confirmed hitting their targets.
The spokesperson did not say what the army thought was the intended objective of the divers.
Hamas security sources said four bodies had been found and a fifth man was missing and was presumed dead.
The incident comes eight days after Israeli marines killed nine Turks on the deck of a Turkish passenger ship which was part of a six-vessel convoy that set out to challenge a Israeli-led blockade of the Gaza Strip.
A second attempt by activists to break the blockade on Gaza was stopped on Saturday without incident.
Israeli media said Monday’s patrol was carried out by naval commandos from the same unit that boarded the Gaza-bound ships last week although the military spokesperson declined to comment on this.
Palestinian militants in Gaza frequently try to attack Israeli border patrols and sporadically fire rockets and mortar bombs at Israel. Attempts to attack from the sea are rare, however. – Reuters