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Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian lands in southern Gaza

Jan. 7, 2017 10:12 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 7, 2017 6:20 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces Saturday morning opened live fire at Palestinian agricultural land east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Witnesses told Ma’an in Gaza City that Israeli soldiers stationed in military posts across the border fence east of the village of Khuzaa fired live ammunition intermittently at Palestinian fields.

No injuries were reported.

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

Israeli military incursions inside the besieged Gaza Strip and near the “buffer zone," which lies on both the land and sea sides of Gaza, have long been a near-daily occurrence.

Palestinians who work near the unilaterally declared “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 practice has in effect destroyed much of the agricultural sector of the blockaded coastal enclave.

On Wednesday night, a Palestinian fisherman, Muhammad Ahmad al-Hassi, 33, near Israel’s sea-side buffer zone went missing after an encounter with Israeli forces, and has yet to be found by Palestinian or Israeli authorities.

Locals told Ma’an at the time that Israeli forces had purposely attacked and sunk al-Hassi’s boat.

The incident has sparked anger in the besieged coastal enclave. A sit-in protest was organized on Thursday condemning the “Israeli crime” and demanding an international intervention to protect Gaza fishermen and prosecute Israel for its crimes.

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.
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