An Israeli naval vessel shot at two smuggling boats attempting to speed from Egypt to Gaza early Wednesday, injuring two people.
An Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said the vessels were being used for smuggling from Egypt to Gaza; Palestinian sources confirmed that they were smuggling cigarettes and tobacco.
After shooting at the boats, the IDF said it took fire from the Gaza coast.
There were no Israeli injuries, an army spokesperson said.
The boats had deviated from Gaza into restricted waters toward Egypt and on their return, the navy called on the vessels to stop and fired after they failed to heed warnings, the IDF said, adding that they could confirm that the vessel was hit, but could not confirm any casualties.
Palestinian witnesses and medical sources said the navy opened fire at the vessels as they were heading towards Rafah, moderately wounding two people, while the rest of the crew managed to escape.
After firing on the Palestinian boat, the naval vessel was fired on by gunmen from near Rafah and sustained light damage. The navy returned fire.
Palestinians sources claimed the navy used light artillery to hit the boats and Rafah, causing a power outage in the southern Gaza town, according to Palestinian Ma’an News Agency.
Israel has maintained a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip since 2007, when Hamas took control of the coastal enclave. Fishing boats are allowed to operate in a restricted area off the coast.
AFP contributed to this report.