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Israeli navy shoots, injures Palestinian fisherman off Gaza's coast

April 14, 2019 11:32 A.M. (Updated: April 15, 2019 12:08 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A 23-year-old Palestinian fisherman was shot and injured by Israeli naval forces off the northern coast of the besieged Gaza Strip, on Sunday.

Locals told Ma'an that Israeli naval forces opened heavy fire at one of the Palestinian fishing boats while working three nautical miles off the northern coast, which is within the permitted fishing zone, and injured a fisherman.

Sources said that the fisherman was injured with rubber-coated steel bullets in his neck and back.

The fisherman, whose identity remained unknown, was taken to al-Shifa Hospital, west of Gaza City, to receive necessary medical treatment.

His medical condition was described as moderate.

As part of Israel's blockade of the coastal enclave, 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.

Palestinian fishermen, who try to make a living off the shores of the blockaded coastal enclave face daily risks, including routine harassment from Israeli naval forces, confiscation of boats and materials, detention and live fire.

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."

According to the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in 1994, a permitted fishing range of 20 nautical miles was agreed on between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). In practice, Israel only allowed fishing up to 12 nautical miles until 2006, when the fishing zone was reduced to six and later to three.

OCHA found that the blockade has seriously undermined the ability for Gazan fishermen to make a living at sea.

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