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Gaza fishermen announce 2-day protest in wake of missing fisherman

Jan. 5, 2017 9:59 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 7, 2017 4:59 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip announced on Thursday the suspension of their work at sea for two days in protest of the attack and sinking of a Gaza fisherman’s boat by Israeli naval forces on Wednesday night.

Head of the Gaza Fishermen's Union, Zakariya Bakr, told Ma’an that Gazan fishermen will suspend their work off the coast of the Gaza Strip starting Friday in condemnation of Thursday’s “crime” that caused Gaza fisherman Muhammad Ahmad al-Hassi, 33, to go missing.

Bakr said that the search for al-Hassi would continue on Friday, highlighting that fishermen had set up a sit-in tent in protest of “continuous Israeli violations against them.”

Gazan fishermen, whose numbers are estimated to be around 4,000, have suffered from a near decade-long siege of the Gaza Strip, which limits fishermen to just six nautical miles into the sea in accordance with the ceasefire agreement signed with Palestinian factions in 2014.

Despite the ceasefire agreement that ended the deadly war, 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 Hamas movement released a statement on Thursday, condemning the "direct assault" on al-Hissi's boat, calling it an "organized and hideous crime."

Meanwhile, the Islamic Jihad movement also released a statement, calling the incident a "terrorist assault," and added that the missing fisherman represents a new violation to the declared ceasefire in 2014.

The statement added that the incident was entirely Israel's fault by targeting Palestinian fishermen attempting to provide for their families. "If the offensive does not stop it is our right to defend ourselves and our people,” the statement read.

Palestinians who work near the “buffer zone” often come under fire from military forces, as the Israeli military has not made clear the precise area of the designated zone.

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