A booby-trapped fishing boat exploded on Monday near an Israel Navy vessel off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian vessel was laden with explosives, but was unmanned. Israel TV showed the Coastal Patrol Craft, accompanied by two Morena armed rigid-hulled inflatable boats, which apparently had been involved in the chase.
The naval patrol followed the boat for about an hour and spotted no people on board. When the suspected boat came within 600 meters of the patrol craft, it was fired on, at which point the explosion occurred. There were no casualties on any of the Israeli boats during the action.
IDF sources estimated that the booby-trapped boat may have been activated by remote control from the shore and meant to explode near an Israeli Navy vessel or a coastal community.
Several attempts to launch terror attacks from Gaza via the sea have been recorded in the past.
On November 7, 2000, a Hamas suicide bomber aboard a fishing boat tried to attack an Israeli patrol craft sailing off the Gaza coastline. Alert crew members detected the threat and sank the boat.
In 2002, two Palestinian militants on an explosive-packed boat blew themselves up next to an Israeli patrol vessel, killing themselves and wounding four naval crewmen.
Globally, terrorists have shown a growing interest in using small boats to attack military and commercial shipping and maritime facilities. Probably the most prominent small-boat attack on a military ship occurred on October 12, 2000, when al-Qaeda operatives detonated a small boat filled with explosives against the hull of the USS Cole, which was refueling in the port of Aden, Yemen. The attack killed 17 U.S. sailors and wounded 39 others. It also garnered much publicity for al-Qaeda. Two years later, on October 2002, al-Qaeda attacked a commercial ship at sea. Using a small fishing boat, crammed with explosives, it rammed the French supertanker Limburg, while the ship was 12 miles off the coast of Yemen, one crew member was killed and twelve others wounded.
upper photo coastal patrol craft IDF officiallower: Morena armed rigid-hulled inflatable boats IDF official