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Medics: 3 hurt after navy shells fishing boat

May 27, 2011 1:48 P.M. (Updated: May 29, 2011 10:04 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Israel's navy fired on fishing boats late Thursday, injuring three Palestinians, medics said.

The fishermen were transferred to Ash-Shifa hospital for treatment of moderate injuries, medical official Adham Abu Silmiya said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the army had no record of such an event.

Fishermen in Gaza are calling for protection after four years of siege.

At a sit-in Thursday in Gaza's port, a group of fishermen rejected Israel's blockade policy, which for four years has limited their ships to the near coast at risk of being fired upon.

The sea off Gaza has been mostly off limits since June 2006 when Israel imposed a tight blockade on the territory after militants there snatched Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who is still being held.

The blockade was tightened a year later when the Islamist Hamas movement seized control of the territory, ousting forces loyal to the Western-backed Palestinian Authority.

Israel took steps to ease the measure last summer following a wave of international pressure after its troops staged a botched raid on an aid flotilla which was trying to break the embargo, killing nine Turkish activists.

On Thursday, fishermen appealed to the UN and human rights organizations to end the naval siege and pressure Israel to increase the area of fishing as well as "bring Israel into account for its crimes."

Mohammad Al-Hisi, one of the fishermen, told Ma'an that "the occupation's forces destroyed my small boat, which I depend on for my livelihood. And no one cares. I just want my livelihood."

The fishermen say they want international protection against Israeli attacks at sea.

Mustafa Al-Jarbu, another protester, explained that the sit-in was in protest of the "vicious acts" carried out by the Israeli army against fishermen, which have injured hundreds and killed dozens.
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