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Israeli naval forces open live fire at Palestinian fishing boats off Gaza coast

Aug. 23, 2016 8:39 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 23, 2016 8:40 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces Tuesday evening opened live fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip.

Coordinator for fishermen committees Zakariya Bakr told Ma’an that Israeli naval ships opened fire at fishing boats, after reportedly chasing the boats for two nautical miles.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports.

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.

The Israeli army regularly open fires on Palestinian fishermen and farmers along the border areas, despite a ceasefire agreement that ended the 2014 war.

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

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.
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