Page last updated at 09:25 GMT, Monday, 13 April 2009 10:25 UK

Boat explodes off coast of Gaza

Gaza map

A fishing boat has exploded off the coast of Gaza in an apparent attempt to attack the Israeli navy, the Israeli military says.

The vessel was unmanned and the size of the blast suggested it contained an explosive device, the military said.

It blew up about 300m from the coast in the "general proximity" of an Israeli ship, a military spokesman said.

Israel imposes a fishing zone off the coast of Gaza and frequently fires at boats it says violate the restrictions.

There were no injuries reported in the incident, which occurred on Monday morning, close to the border between Gazan and Israeli coastal waters.

No immediate claim of responsibility was reported.

The fishing zone is part of a strict blockade on the Gaza Strip, tightened when Hamas seized control of it in 2007.

Israeli naval patrols also monitor the coast for attempts to smuggle weapons into the Strip.

Tensions remain high between Israel and Hamas in the wake of Israel's 22-day military operation in the Gaza Strip, which is said was aimed at reducing rocket fire at Israeli towns.

The conflict ended when both sides declared unilateral ceasefires. No negotiated truce has yet been agreed.

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