An unmanned Palestinian fishing boat laden with explosives blew up off the coast of the Gaza Strip on Monday in an apparent attempt to attack an Israeli navy patrol, Israel's military chief said.
No one was hurt in the explosion, which Palestinians said could be heard miles away. Local fishermen in the Hamas-controlled territory said the Israeli ship fired at the boat as it approached, causing the enormous blast.
The Israeli military said it had not shot at the vessel, which exploded some 600 metres (yards) from the naval patrol.
"We believe this was an attempted attack," said Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi, head of Israel's armed forces.
He said the navy crew was unharmed because it followed regulations and did not approach the suspicious boat. There was no Palestinian claim of responsibility.