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Israeli navy opens fire at Gaza fishing boat

Jan. 31, 2015 10:39 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 2, 2015 9:40 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces on Saturday morning opened fire at Palestinians fishing off the coast of Gaza, in yet the latest attack on residents of the beleaguered coastal enclave.

Fishermen told Ma'an that Israeli gunboats stationed off the coast of the al-Sudaniyya area of northwestern Gaza City opened fire at them.

They said that Israeli navy fired warning shots at one fishing boat "despite the fact that it was sailing within the six nautical miles in which Gaza fishermen are allowed to sail."

No injuries were reported as a result of the incident.

An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma'an she was unfamiliar with the incident.

The Aug. 26 ceasefire agreement reached after the end of Israel's assault on Gaza stipulated that Israel would expand the fishing zone off Gaza's coast, allowing fishermen to sail as far as six nautical miles from shore, and would continue to expand the area gradually.

Since then, there have been widespread reports that Israeli forces have opened fire at fishermen within those new limits.

Prior to the recent agreement, Israeli forces maintained a limit of three nautical miles on all Gaza fishermen, opening fire at fishermen who strayed further, despite earlier agreements which had settled on a 20-mile limit.

The restrictions crippled Gaza's fishing industry and impoverished local fishermen.

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 direct result of Israeli limits on the fishing industry.
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