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Israeli navy detains 2 Palestinian fishermen in northern Gaza

March 10, 2019 11:05 A.M. (Updated: March 10, 2019 12:46 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces detained two Palestinian fishermen, off the coast of the northern besieged Gaza Strip, on Sunday.

Local sources confirmed that Israeli naval forces detained two fishermen while working within the permitted fishing zone and confiscated their fishing boat and sailed it to an unknown location.

One of the detained fishermen was identified as Hussam Barkat.

Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers deployed in military watchtowers opened fire towards Palestinian agricultural lands east of Rafah and Khan Younis.

No injuries were reported.

According to the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Israel’s blockade of the coastal enclave has seriously undermined the ability for Gazan fishermen to make a living at sea.

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.

Local rights organization, Al-Haq, has documented many cases of Israeli aggression toward Palestinian fishermen off the Gazan coast, calling the Israel's action against the fishermen "collective punishment" that imposes "difficult economic and social conditions."
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