The family of a Palestinian fisherman who disappeared after colliding with an Israeli navy ship off the Gaza coast has declared him dead.

Hundreds held a symbolic funeral Saturday for 33-year-old Mohammed Al-Hissi at a Gaza fishing harbor following three days of searches failed to locate a body.

His uncle, Nidal Al-Hissi, said a navy vessel hit Al-Hissi's boat, splitting it in half and turning him upside down.

Israel typically allows Gaza's fishermen to sail across six nautical miles and sometimes extends the zone to nine.

The Israeli military says it was escorting a separate vessel that had deviated from the zone when it accidentally collided with the fisherman on a stormy day. It says forces helped search the area for the missing fisherman and were further investigating the incident.