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Israeli forces detain 5 Palestinian fishermen, sieze boats off northern Gaza coast

Jan. 9, 2018 5:21 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 10, 2018 4:30 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Israeli naval forces detained five Palestinian fishermen on Tuesday and confiscated two fishing boats off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip, according to official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency.

Wafa reported that Israeli naval forces opened fire on the fishermen and their boats as they were sailing at a distance of four nautical miles out from the shore off northern Gaza’s coast.

“The navy detained five fishermen after forcing them to strip from their clothes and swim in freezing cold water to the navy ships. It also confiscating their boats,” Wafa reported.

As part of Israel's blockade of the coastal enclave since 2007, the Israeli army, citing security concerns, requires Palestinian fishermen to work within a limited "designated fishing zone," the exact limits of which are decided by the Israeli authorities and have historically fluctuated.

The Israeli army regularly detains and opens fire on unarmed Palestinian fishermen, shepherds, and farmers along the border areas if they approach the unilaterally declared buffer zone.

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem recently concluded that Israel’s Gaza closure and “harassment of fishermen” have been “destroying Gaza’s fishing sector,” with 95 percent of fishermen living below the poverty line.

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