Israeli gunboats wounded Thursday two Palestinian fishermen who were on board their boats on the Rafah shoreline in the southern Gaza Strip.

Local hospital sources confirmed the injury of two fishermen after Israeli gunboats chased and fired at Palestinian fishing boats.

The fishing industry in the coastal region of Gaza has been severely damaged since June25, 2006, the day an Israeli soldier was abducted by some Palestinian resistance groups in an unprecedented cross-border resistance attack to the east of Rafah city.

Human rights groups, including Israelis, have described the Israeli forces' harassment of fishermen as "a violation of agreed upon Palestinian-Israeli arrangements on fishing on Gaza shores."

According to such arrangements, fishermen are allowed to sail within 12 nautical miles, yet the Israeli naval forces, since last summer, have restricted movement of Palestinian fishing boats, under the pretext of preventing possible cross-border transfer of the abducted soldier via sea.