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Israeli military vehicles cross Gaza border, navy fires at fishermen

Jan. 14, 2014 11:22 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 19, 2014 10:51 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli military vehicles crossed into the northern Gaza Strip for surveillance activities on Monday, witnesses told Ma'an.

The limited incursion took place in a border region near Beit Lahiya, the witnesses said.

Separately, Israeli warships opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the coast near al-Sudaniyya west of Beit Lahiya.

No injuries were reported, but the fishermen fled and were unable to continue fishing.

The Gaza Strip has been under a severe blockade imposed by Israel since 2006.

Palestinian fishermen are only allowed to go 3 nautical miles from Gaza's shore, even though Israeli-Palestinian agreements previously settled on 20 nautical miles.

Israeli naval forces frequently harass Palestinian fishermen who near the 3-mile limit, as well as those inside the zone.

There are 4,000 fishermen in Gaza. According to a 2011 report by the International Committee of the Red Cross, 90 percent are poor, an increase of 40 percent from 2008 and a result of Israeli limits on the fishing industry.

The Israeli blockade has severely limited the imports and exports of the Gaza Strip and has led to frequent humanitarian crises and hardship for Gazans.
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