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Israeli naval forces open fire at Gazan fishermen

Feb. 15, 2018 12:03 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 17, 2018 2:57 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats on Thursday morning as they were working off the coast of the central and northern Gaza Strip.

Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli naval boats opened fire at fishermen off the coast of Gaza City, the central Gaza Strip and the northern Gaza Strip.

Sources added that no injuries were reported.

The Palestinian Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) issued this week its annual report for 2017 detailing Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the besieged Gaza Strip, highlighting that “these attacks deny fishermen from practicing their fishing work and accessing their livelihood resources.”

The report states that Israeli forces carried out shooting operations and chased down the fishermen hundreds of times, even while inside the designated fishing zone, “causing dozens of casualties as well as destroying and confiscating boats and fishing gears.”

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

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.

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem recently concluded that Israel’s Gaza closure and “harassment of fishermen” have been “destroying Gaza’s fishing sector,” with 95 percent of fishermen living below the poverty line.

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