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Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian fishermen, farmers in Gaza

June 14, 2017 12:13 P.M. (Updated: June 14, 2017 2:28 P.M.)
(File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen sailing off the coast of the Gaza Strip on two separate occasions Wednesday morning, forcing them to leave the area for fear of getting shot, while the Israeli army also reportedly opened fire toward farmland along the border area of the besieged coastal enclave.

No injuries were reported in any of the cases.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an that in the northern Gaza Strip, a fishing boat "deviated from the designated fishing zone, and forces called for it to halt." The boat allegedly continued on its path, after which soldiers fired warning shots into the air, and when the boat still continued, Israeli forces fired directly toward the boat, which then "returned to the designated fishing zone."

The army spokesperson had the same comment regarding a similar incident off the coast in central Gaza.

Meanwhile, Israeli military units stationed near Gaza’s borders east of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza opened fire towards agricultural lands, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into the incident.

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

Last month, Israeli forces shot and killed an unarmed Palestinian fisherman off Gaza's coast.

"This indicates a new crime committed by the Israeli forces though none of the fishermen posed any threat to the live of Israeli soldiers. This also emphasizes continuation of Israel’s policy to target the fishermen and their safety and deny them from freely sailing and fishing within the allowed fishing area," Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) wrote in a statement at the time.

As part of Israel's blockade of the coastal enclave since 2007, Palestinian fishermen have been required to work within a limited "designated fishing zone," the exact limits of which are decided by the Israeli authorities and have historically fluctuated.

The al-Mezan Center for Human Rights reported last month that since the beginning of the year, Israel had seized five fishing boats, detained 14 Palestinian fishermen, shot and injured four, and killed one other fisherman, who drowned after Israeli forces sunk his boat.
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