The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said they hit “military targets belonging to the Hamas terror organization’s naval force,” as well as “underground terror infrastructure.” On its official Twitter account, the IDF said it was done in response to a group of people breaking through the Israel-Gaza border and setting a military post on fire.
Gaza residents cited by Reuters said the boat that was set on fire by the Israeli attack was due to sail to meet a flotilla on its way to Gaza. A number of aid flotillas have attempted to breach the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza in recent years, but the vessels have been stopped, seized or turned back. In the most notorious case in 2010, Israeli commandos killed nine activists on board the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara.
The latest wave of protests along the Israel-Gaza border, which started on May 30, has already left at least 110 Palestinians dead and thousands injured, according to Gaza medics. Around 60 of the fatalities were the result of the crackdown on May 14, the day of the opening of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem, which Israel claims as its capital in defiance of international condemnation. The IDF regularly launches airstrikes into Gaza, each time saying the targets are “terrorists.”