IDF soldiers arrested four Gaza residents off the Gaza coast on Thursday. The four were arrested after failing to heed calls to stop.
According to the Bethlehem-based Maan news agency, the four were fishermen performing their daily work. Arab sources quoted by Maan claimed that IDF soldiers opened fire on the boat.
Gaza Arabs are permitted to fish and tour by boat off the Gaza coast. However, naval activity near Gaza is monitored by the Israeli Navy, and boats from Gaza are prohibited from entering international waters, as per previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The limits on naval passage from Gaza are meant to reduce weapons smuggling in the area.
The Palestinian Authority has warned that Gaza terrorists continue to smuggle weapons by sea. Boats piloted by foreign terrorists drop crates of weapons off the coast, and the weapons are gathered by fishermen or wash to shore, PA officials said.
The PA, currently dominated by Fatah, has expressed concern as Hamas grows stronger, apparently out of fear for its own control. Hamas seized control of Gaza in a 2007 coup, and has threatened to wrest control of Judea and Samaria from the PA as well.
Last month, Hamas used an explosives-laden ship in an attempt to attack the Israeli Navy, detonating the ship off the Gaza coast in an area patrolled by Israel. The attack failed to cause damage or injury.