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Israeli naval forces detain 2 Palestinian fishermen, seize boat off Gaza coast

Sept. 18, 2017 1:27 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 18, 2017 10:31 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli naval forces on Monday morning detained two Palestinian fishermen and seized their boat off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip.

Official Palestinian Authority (PA) Wafa news agency reported that Israeli naval forces “attacked” a Palestinian fishing boat while it was sailing four nautical miles from the shore.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that a Palestinian vessel “deviated from the designated fishing zone” in the northern Gaza Strip, prompting Israeli naval forces to call on the vessel to halt.

“When the vessel continued Israeli forces fired warning shots in the air,” the spokesperson said, adding that the two Palestinian fishermen were detained and their boat seized. The fishermen and their boat were transferred to Israel’s Ashdod port, where the fishermen were handed over to Israeli security forces for questioning.

As part of Israel's blockade of the coastal enclave since 2007, the Israeli army, citing security concerns, requires Palestinian fishermen to work within a limited "designated fishing zone," the exact limits of which are decided by the Israeli authorities and have historically fluctuated.

The al-Mezan Center for Human Rights reported in May that since the beginning of the year, Israel had seized five fishing boats, detained 14 Palestinian fishermen, shot and injured four, while two fisherman have been killed.

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