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Israeli gunfire forces Gaza fishermen to return to shore

March 4, 2015 10:54 A.M. (Updated: March 4, 2015 10:54 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) – A fishing boat sustained damage Wednesday morning after Israeli naval ships opened fire at a number of Gaza fishermen off the northern Gaza Strip coast.

Fishermen told Ma'an they were fishing off the coast of al-Sudaniyya within the designated fishing zone, which is six nautical miles from the shore, when they came under fire.

They added that they had to return to shore fearing to be shot or arrested.

Fishing is the only source of living for around 4,000 Palestinian men in the Gaza Strip, 90 percent of whom are poor according to a 2011 report by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Aug. 26 ceasefire agreement between Israel and Palestinian militant groups stipulated that Israel would immediately 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 at times opened fire at fishermen within those new limits, and the zone has not been expanded.

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