Israeli navy kills 4 Palestinians off Gaza coast

14:32, June 07, 2010      

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The Gaza-bound Rachel Corrie aid ship, which is under control of the Israeli navy, approaches southern Israel's Ashdod port June 5, 2010.(Xinhua/Rafael Ben-Ari)
Israeli navy killed at least four Palestinians off Gaza coast early Monday, medical sources said.

The dead were members of Al-Aqsa martyrs brigades, an offshoot of Fatah party. As Israel says they were en route to carry out a terror attack, a spokesman for the Palestinian group said in a statement that they were learning diving.

Witnesses said that an Israeli gunboat fired intensively at a fishing boat off the coast and killed four people who were wearing diving suits.

The dead were apparently affiliated to a militant group, medics said.

Police from Hamas, the Islamic movement that controls Gaza, retrieved the bodies in the south of Gaza City and ambulances took them to Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir Al-Balah town.

An Israeli army spokesman said the naval forces thwarted a Palestinian attack. He provided no further details.

Hamas police is still searching for at least one missing diver.

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