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Israeli forces open fire at Gazan farmers, fishermen

Jan. 18, 2017 1:41 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 18, 2017 4:32 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces opened fire at several areas along the Israeli borderline with the Gaza Strip, while Israeli naval forces targeted fishermen off the coast of central Gaza early Wednesday morning.

Locals told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers opened fire at Palestinian farmers in the town of Abasan al-Kabira , east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported.

In the central Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers opened fire at farmers in eastern Juhr al-Dik. While no injuries were reported, farmers said the gunfire forced them to temporarily leave their lands.

Separately, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of western Gaza City. No injuries were reported.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that on Wednesday morning, “a vessel deviated from the designated fishing zone” off the coast of the central Gaza Strip, and that Israeli forces “fired warning shots in the air,” at which point the boat turned around.

Gazan fishermen, whose numbers are estimated to be around 4,000, have suffered from the near decade-long siege of the Gaza Strip, which limits their incursions to just six nautical miles into the sea in accordance with the ceasefire agreement signed with Palestinian factions in 2014.

Despite the 2014 agreement, Israeli army incursions inside the Palestinian territory have long been a near-daily occurrence, as the Israeli army regularly opens fire on unarmed Palestinian fishermen and farmers along the border areas.

There have also been intermittent reports of Israeli forces attempting to sink the boats of fishermen as they approach Israel’s unilaterally declared “buffer zone,” which lies on both the land and sea sides of Gaza.

Earlier this month, a Palestinian fisherman went missing after an encounter with Israeli forces off the coast of Gaza, with his family announcing his death days later despite his body having yet to be recovered.

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