The Israeli Navy, early on Friday, forced Palestinian fishermen to flee the coast fearing for their lives, blocking their ability to provide for their families.

According to Palestinian sources in the besieged coastal territory, Israeli Navy vessels intercepted fishermen sailing in the north of the Gaza strip, in the Al-Sudaniya area, by opening fire in the air, causing panic among the men. No causalities were reported.

The sources said that the navy ships forced the Palestinian fishermen to leave the shores immediately, noting that the fishermen are trying to earn a living within a strict limit, dictated by the Israeli occupation authorities.

Israeli Navy harassment of Palestinian fishermen occurs frequently since the Israeli government imposed an air, land, and sea blockade on the the Strip since 2007.

The Israeli Navy imposes arbitrary restrictions of 6 to 9 nautical miles off the coast of Gaza, severely limiting access to fish.

Palestinian fishing organizations consider the harassment unjustified, as the Israeli Navy has taken the lives of several fishermen and caused hundreds of injuries, a number of fishermen continue to be held in Israeli custody.

Hundreds of fishing boats have been rendered either partially or completely damaged.

Prior to the Israeli inflicted siege on Gaza, about three thousand Gaza fishermen would sail out 25 nautical miles from the coast, greatly increasing the chances of a high yield.

As a coastal enclave, fishing is considered to be a main source of income for many Palestinians in Gaza.

Image: Alray