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Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian fishing boats, level lands in Gaza

May 7, 2017 11:42 A.M. (Updated: May 7, 2017 4:07 P.M.)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- Israeli military vehicles staged a limited incursion into Palestinian lands east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip on Sunday morning, while Israeli naval forces also opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of northern Gaza, causing no injuries.

Eyewitnesses told Ma’an that five Israeli military bulldozers set off from Israel's Kissufim military base and passed tens of meters beyond the border area, and proceeded to level lands.

Separately, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coat of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the incident to Ma'an, claiming that the boat "deviated from the designated fishing zone, prompting forces to fire warning shots into the air," adding that the vessel eventually returned to the designated zone, with no injuries being reported.

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” often come under fire from Israeli military forces, as the authorities have not made clear the precise area of the designated zone.

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

The Israeli army also regularly detains and opens fire on unarmed Palestinian fishermen, shepherds, and farmers along the border areas if they approach the buffer zone.

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.
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