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Israeli naval ships have reportedly rammed a boat, carrying 16 international
Israeli naval ships have reportedly rammed a boat, carrying 16 international human rights activists and humanitarian aid, the regional media and international organizations said on Tuesday.

Dignity, a small cabin cruiser carrying over 3 metric tons of emergency medical supplies donated by the people of Cyprus, departed Larnaca Port in Cyprus late on Monday. When the boat was in international waters, reportedly some 115 km (71.5 miles) off the coast of Gaza, it was surrounded by Israeli warships.

The passengers on board include Al-Jazeera and CNN journalists, a former U.S. congresswoman, two doctors and a Cypriot MP, who is also a doctor.

"They are firing live ammunition around the Dignity, and one of the warships has rammed the civilian craft causing an unknown amount of damage," International Solidarity Movement said in a statement.

Elize Ernshire, one of the activists onboard the boat, told Al-Jazeera that the boat was rammed twice from the front and then once from the side.

Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for Israel's foreign ministry, denied that any shots have been fired but admitted there had been "physical contact" with the boat, due to the fact that the boat crew had failed to respond to Israeli radio contact.

No one was hurt in the incident. Israeli ships have escorted the vessel back to Cypriot waters.

Palmor added that although Israel had previously allowed ships with humanitarian aid into Gaza, "the situation in Gaza is different now."

"The area was declared a closed military zone," he was quoted as saying by the Ynet news portal.


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