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Israeli forces detain 2 Gaza fishermen, confiscate boat

Aug. 29, 2016 10:37 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 29, 2016 9:11 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Israeli naval forces reportedly detained two Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip on Monday.

Fishermen told Ma’an that Israeli gunboats fired warning shots at fishing boats off the coast of Sudaniya before detaining two fishermen -- identified as Muhannad and Nafith Abu Riyala -- and confiscating their boat.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the detentions to Ma'an, claiming that the fishing "vessel had deviated from the designated fishing zone" unilaterally determined and enforced by Israel. They added that the navy fired warning shots before firing at the fishermen when they failed to return back into the fishing zone, before detaining them and taking their fishing boat to Ashdod port.

Israeli naval forces also reportedly detained two fishermen off the coast of Beit Lahiya on Sunday morning.

The Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they did not have information on Sunday's detentions.

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” between the Palestinian enclave and Israel often come under fire from military forces, as the Israeli military has not made clear the precise area of the designated zone.

Israeli forces also regularly detain Palestinian fisherman off the coast of Gaza working within the fishing zone, generally for alleged security reasons.

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Israeli forces detained 71 fishermen and confiscated 22 fishing boats throughout 2015.

The center said that Israeli naval forces also opened fire on Palestinian fishermen at least 139 times over the course of the year, wounding 24 and damaging 16 fishing boats.

"These attacks occurred in a time where the fishers did not pose any threat to the Israeli naval troops, as they were doing their job to secure a living," PCHR said.

These Israeli military procedures have in effect destroyed much of the agricultural and fishing sectors of the blockaded coastal enclave.
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