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Israeli forces abduct five Palestinian fishermen off Gaza

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Palestinian fishermen arrive back from a fishing trip at the port of Gaza City on April 21, 2015. (© AFP)

Israeli naval forces have opened fire on a Palestinian fishing boat off the coast of the besieged Gaza Strip, abducting all five fishermen on board.

Head of the Gaza Fishermen’s Syndicate Nizar Ayash said a number of fishermen were sailing near the shores of the Gaza City on Wednesday morning when Israeli forces targeted their boat, Arabic-language Sky News Arabia satellite news network reported.

Israeli troops later confiscated the boat and took it to an unknown location.

An estimated 4,000 Palestinians are employed in Gaza’s fishing sector, and more than half of them are living destitute.

Under a ceasefire agreement clinched between representatives from the Israeli regime and the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement following a deadly 50-day Israeli war in August 2014, Tel Aviv agreed to increase the fishing area off the coast of Gaza Strip to six nautical miles from the previously three nautical miles.

Palestinian fishermen, however, say Israeli naval forces frequently target their boats before they reach the agreed limit.

There are reports that Israeli forces have attacked Palestinian boats on at least 150 occasions, abducted nearly two dozen fishermen and confiscated nine boats over the past two years.

Also on Wednesday, Israeli troops shot and injured a Palestinian farmer near the fence separating Israeli-occupied territories from the blockaded coastal enclave.

Palestinian sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the man suffered moderate injuries after coming under fire east of Khan Younis.

Gaza Strip, ruled by the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, has been under an Israeli blockade since June 2007. The blockade has resulted in a sharp decline in the standard of living in the territory, and driven unemployment as well as poverty to record highs.

MP/HJL/HRB


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