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Israeli warships open fire at Palestinian fishermen near Rafah

Aug. 13, 2014 11:55 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 16, 2014 10:58 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli warships on Wednesday opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the southern Gaza Strip, in the second such incident since an agreed-upon 72-hour truce came into effect, witnesses told Ma'an.

Witnesses said Israeli forces opened fire "heavily" at a Palestinian fishing boat near Rafah, but that there were no injuries.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said a motor boat had "breached the military closure," and that Israeli forces opened fire into the air.

The motorboat then "returned to Gaza," with "no injuries or damages."

A similar incident occurred the day before, when a Palestinian fishing boat came under fire by Israeli forces in the same area, a fishermen union official said at the time.

Israeli naval forces regularly open fire at fishermen in Gaza if they venture further than three nautical miles from shore, a policy that has had a crippling impact on the fishing industry.

As a part of any lasting ceasefire, Palestinian negotiators have demanded that Israeli forces extend the "designated fishing zone" by several nautical miles.

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