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Israeli forces wound Palestinian fisherman after opening fire on boats in the northern Gaza Strip

Aug. 25, 2016 10:16 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 25, 2016 4:47 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces detained a Palestinian fisherman early Thursday after heavily opening fire at his boat off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian sources, while Israeli sources told Ma’an a Palestinian fisherman was taken for medical treatment after being wounded by Israeli live fire.

Head of the Palestinian fishermen union Nizar Ayyash told Ma’an that the Israeli navy detained Abd al-Aziz Saadallah off the coast of Beit Lahiya after opening heavy fire at Palestinian fishing boats.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that a Palestinian fisherman was detained after deviating from the “designated fishing zone,” and was also reportedly wounded by Israeli live fire.

According to the spokesperson, Israeli forces told the fishermen to stop, as they shot warning shots into the air. When the boats failed to stop, Israeli forces shot towards the vessels, wounding one Palestinian with live fire.

The spokesperson said that the wounded Palestinian was receiving medical treatment at Israel’s Ashdod port.

The spokesperson added that during the incident shots were fired from the northern shore of the Gaza Strip toward Israeli naval forces.

Israeli military incursions inside the besieged Gaza Strip and near the “buffer zone" which lies on both land and sea sides of Gaza, have long been a near-daily occurrence.

Palestinians who work near the “buffer zone” between the Palestinian enclave and Israel often come under fire from military forces, as the Israeli military has not made clear the precise area of the designated zone.

The Israeli army regularly open fires on Palestinian fishermen and farmers along the border areas, despite a ceasefire agreement that ended the 2014 war.

The practice has in effect destroyed much of the agricultural and fishing sectors of the blockaded coastal enclave.

Israeli forces also regularly detain Palestinian fisherman off the coast of Gaza working within the fishing zone, generally for alleged security reasons.

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Israeli forces detained 71 fishermen and confiscated 22 fishing boats throughout 2015.

The center said that Israeli naval forces also opened fire on Palestinian fishermen at least 139 times over the course of the year, wounding 24 and damaging 16 fishing boats.

"These attacks occurred in a time where the fishers did not pose any threat to the Israeli naval troops, as they were doing their job to secure a living," PCHR said.
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