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Israeli forces fire on Gaza fishermen, 1 injured with rubber bullet

Jan. 20, 2017 11:55 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 22, 2017 6:53 P.M.)
(File)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian fisherman off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip on Friday morning.

Head of the Gaza fishermen’s union Zakariya Bakr told Ma’an that Abed Hisham al-Sultan was injured with a rubber-coated steel bullet as Israeli forces “continuously opened fire” at fishing boats early Friday morning.

An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports.

The al-Mezan Center for Human Rights condemned Israeli army violations against Palestinian fishermen, saying that they posed a real threat to the rights of civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Al-Mezan added that fishermen had a right to exercise their profession in Gaza, and that Israeli forces were breaching international humanitarian law by preventing fishermen from gaining their livelihood.

The group added that Palestinian fishermen were continuously at risk of being killed, injured or arbitrarily detained, and called upon the international community to intervene.

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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