A rubber dinghy carrying no people but filled with personal items and identity papers of foreign nationals washed up on the beach near the coastal city of Netanya, the Israel Police said Sunday.
Police said that among the items inside the dinghy were the documents of three Somali citizens. According to Hebrew media reports, citing unnamed municipal officials, documents for a total of eight people were found, including Turkish citizens. At least one of the identity papers was that of a child.
Other items included water bottles and energy snacks.
It was not immediately clear what happened to the occupants of the boat — whether they were washed overboard before it arrived or abandoned the craft and its contents after it reached the shore.
Police launched a search for any trace of those who may have been on board, including combing the beach, the sea off the coast, and sending up a drone.
A senior police source told Channel 12 that the arrival of the boat was a serious security failure as it could just as easily have been carrying terrorists.
“Where is the navy? They should have detected it,” he said.
Tens of thousands of migrants from Africa try to cross the Mediterranean Sea each year using dangerously overcrowded ruby dinghies or poorly maintained vessels to reach Europe. While some succeed, many are lost at sea.
In June, a fishing boat carrying migrants capsized and sank off the coast of Greece, leaving at least 78 people dead and many dozens feared missing in one of the worst disasters of its kind.