An Israeli patrol vessel rammed a boat of Palestinian activists carrying a shipment of medical aid that tried to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip, Israeli military radio said Tuesday.
The "Dignity"—that sailed from Cyprus on Monday—was ordered to turn around, and warning shots were fired across its bow, but the 20-meter (66-foot) vessel nevertheless tried to navigate around the patrol boat which blocked its passage, the radio station reported.
There were no reported casualties in the collision, but both vessels suffered damage.
Israel has declared the coastal territory a closed military zone and said the Free Gaza Movement boat would not be permitted to dock.
Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry, said the boat failed to respond to Israeli naval radio contact, and that an Israeli vessel "clashed with the ship."
Free Gaza Movement told Reuters their boat, carrying 3 1/2 tons of medical aid with 16 people aboard, was rammed and shot at while in international waters about 70-80 miles off Gaza by Israeli naval vessel.
Palmor denied there had been any shooting although the two ships made "physical contact". He said no one had been hurt and that the Israeli ship escorted the aid boat back to Cypriot territorial waters.
Israel has declared areas around the Gaza Strip a "closed military zone" after it launched a deadly assault in the coastal territory on Hamas targets on Saturday, in which 360 Palestinians have been killed.
Free Gaza Movement said their boat was safe, but had sustained damage.