Pirates attacked an Israeli cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden, opening fire according to Israeli military radio, but fled when air support was scrambled, the foreign ministry said.
The Maltese-flagged Africa Star, owned by Israeli logistics and transportation giant Zim, was pursued by pirate craft on Saturday until international anti-pirate authorities secured military back-up.
No further details were issued by the Israeli ministry. More than 130 merchant ships were attacked in the region last year according to the International Maritime Bureau.
A surge in vessel attacks off Somalia's unpatrolled coast prompted the deployment of a multinational naval force to secure one of the world's key shipping routes.