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Israeli naval forces open fire on Gaza fishermen, no injuries reported

Aug. 12, 2015 9:49 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 12, 2015 7:15 P.M.)
Palestinian fishermen stand on a boat in the harbor of Gaza City. (AFP/Roberto Schmidt, File)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces opened fire on Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Gaza City early Wednesday, witnesses said.

The fishermen said that they came under fire as they were sailing off the coast of Sudaniyya in northwestern Gaza City.

No injuries were reported, but some of the boats were hit with gunshots, causing the fishermen to return to shore.

Israeli forces have repeatedly opened fire on Palestinian fisherman and farmers since the ceasefire agreement signed Aug. 26, 2014 that ended a devastating 50-day Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip. In many cases there were casualties.

The attacks come despite Israeli promises at the end of the ceasefire to ease restrictions on Palestinian access to both the sea and the border region near the "security buffer zone."

Palestinian fishermen face daily risks in order to make a living, including routine harassment from Israeli naval forces, confiscation of boats and materials, detention, and potentially death.

At least three Palestinian fishermen have been shot dead by Israeli forces since last September.

Israeli forces often allege that fishermen deviate from the designated fishing zone and pose a security threat.

Israel promised last year to extend the fishing zone to six nautical miles as part of the ceasefire that ended last summer's devastating Gaza war.

However, the zone's exact limits remain ambiguous and rights groups say Israeli authorities have not respected the agreement.
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