Israel denies ramming Gaza relief boat

JERUSALEM, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Israel denied Tuesday that one of its patrol boats deliberately rammed a civilian pleasure boat trying to deliver relief supplies to the embattled Gaza Strip.

The 60-foot boat suffered damage in the encounter in the Mediterranean Sea, but made it to the Lebanese port of Tyre without assistance, CNN reported.


The boat, christened Dignity, carried 16 crew members and passengers; many of them volunteer medical personnel, and a cargo of medical supplies. They intended to help out with casualties caused by days of fighting between Israel and Hamas.

The organizers of the Dignity's trip accused an Israeli patrol boat of deliberately ramming the vessel in international waters, but Israel's Foreign Ministry said the Dignity's skipper was steering erratically as the patrol boat moved in.

"There is no intention on the part of the Israeli navy to ram anybody," spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

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