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Israeli forces shoot, injure 2 fishermen off Gaza coast

March 5, 2015 12:08 P.M. (Updated: March 6, 2015 11:22 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinian fishermen were shot and injured as Israeli naval gunboats opened fire at a group of fishing boats off the Mediterranean coast west of the al-Sudaniyya neighborhood in the northern Gaza Strip.

Speaker of the union of Gaza fishermen, Nizar Ayyash, identified the victims as Eid Muhsin Bakr and Ziad Fahd Bakr, confirming that one of them is in a serious condition. The two have been evacuated to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

Ayyash added that Israel's navy arrested three other fishermen.

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 opened fire at fishermen within those new limits, and the zone has not yet been expanded. This morning's incident was the fourth of its kind this week alone.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said a fishing boat deviated from the designated area and Israeli forces fired warning shots in the air.

"When the boat failed to comply, forces use riot dispersal means, with reports of one Palestinian injured in the foot," she added.
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