According to the Middle East Newsline, Israeli military sources say Hamas has converted fishing boats into unmanned attack vessels to challenge Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Hamas, in cooperation with such militias as Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees, have fitted the boats with explosives as well as remote-control devices.

“First, Hamas tried to use remote-controlled rafts or rowboats,” an Israeli military source said. “When that didn’t work, they moved to larger vessels.”

The report follows an attempted Monday attack against an Israeli patrol vessel off Gaza.

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The sources said the boat, which contained hundreds of pounds of explosives, was directed by remote control to head from the Gaza Strip toward Israel.

An Israel Navy patrol boat followed the Palestinian vessel for about an hour, the sources said.

There were no Israeli injuries or damage reported in Monday’s attack.

The assembly of the unmanned explosive boat appeared to be part of Hamas plans to attack an Israeli coastal facility, such as the Israeli beaches located two miles north of Gaza.

This marked the first Palestinian vessel bombing off the Gaza coast since 2003. In 2002, four Israeli commandos were injured when a Palestinian boat blew up near an Israel Navy patrol craft.

As a result, the Israel Navy has intensified patrols along the Gaza coast and has been firing on suspicious fishing boats.

Israeli Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said the unmanned explosive boat marked a new Hamas tactic in the wake of Israel’s incursion into Gaza.

“I think that Hamas has been intimidated, and it is not by chance that there is no direct firing,” Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi said. “We know that hostile terror activities or terror attacks along the security fence – by sea or through the Sinai – are still taking place, and therefore we examine and adjust our arrangements constantly.”

David Bedein can be reached at


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.