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Israeli navy opens heavy fire at fishermen in Gaza

March 24, 2019 11:18 A.M. (Updated: March 24, 2019 1:01 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces opened heavy fire, on Sunday, towards Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Khan Younis and Rafah, in the southern besieged Gaza Strip.

Eyewitnesses said that the Israeli navy repeatedly opened fire towards a number of Palestinian fishing boats, which were working within the permitted fishing zone, forcing the fishermen to head back to shore in fear for their lives.

No injuries were reported.

According to the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Israel’s blockade of the coastal enclave has seriously undermined the ability for Gazan fishermen to make a living at sea.

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% of fishermen living below the poverty line.

Local rights organization, Al-Haq, has documented many cases of Israeli aggression toward Palestinian fishermen off the Gazan coast, calling the Israel's action against the fishermen "collective punishment" that imposes "difficult economic and social conditions."
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