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Israeli navy detains 4 Palestinian fishermen in Gaza

March 8, 2019 11:26 A.M. (Updated: March 8, 2019 3:12 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces detained four Palestinian fishermen and forced them to strip off their clothing, on Friday morning, off the northwestern coast of the besieged Gaza Strip.

Head of the Palestinian Fishermen Union in Gaza, Zakariya Bakr, told Ma'an that the Israeli naval forces surrounded a Palestinian fishing boat with four fishermen aboard and opened heavy fire towards them.

Bakr pointed out that prior to the detention, the Israeli navy forced them to strip from their clothes and swim in freezing cold water to the navy ships.

Bakr identified the four detained fishermen as Walid Muhsein Bakr, Yasri Zakariya Bakr, and two brothers, Yasser and Tamer Suleiman Bakr.

Following the detention, the Israeli navy confiscated the fishing boat and sailed it towards the Israeli Ashdod seaport.

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 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.

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