(Al Ray archive image)
Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip, near Beit Lahiya, on Sunday.
No injuries were reported among the fishermen, according to Ma’an News Agency.
The Israeli army regularly opens fire on Palestinian fishermen and farmers along the border and the coast, despite a ceasefire agreement that ended the 2014 war.
The practice has, in effect, destroyed much of the agricultural and fishing sectors of the blockaded coastal enclave.
Israeli forces also regularly detain Palestinian fisherman off the coast of Gaza working within the fishing zone, generally for alleged security reasons.
Meanwhile, Israeli authorities have postponed three times, now, a planned temporary expansion of the northern Gaza Strip’s fishing zone.
A high-profile Israeli naval commander said that the fishing zone had not been expanded because Palestinian fishermen were reportedly not respecting the pre-existing agreement regarding the limits of the zone.
The commander claimed that armed Palestinian factions were using fishing boats to gather information to conduct attacks, and that the Israeli navy was “forced” to detain fishermen or confiscate their boats when they strayed from the besieged enclave’s narrow fishing zone.
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Israeli forces detained 71 fishermen and confiscated 22 fishing boats throughout 2015.
The center said that Israeli naval forces also opened fire on Palestinian fishermen at least 139 times over the course of the year, wounding 24 and damaging 16 fishing boats.
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