Palestinian officials say Israeli naval forces have opened fire on several Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of the besieged Gaza Strip, and arrested two brothers.
Head of the Fishermen Committees in the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Zakaria Bakr, told Arabic-language Safa news agency that Israeli forces targeted the Palestinian boats off the northern shores of the coastal sliver on Thursday morning.
Bakr added that marines then boarded a boat and arrested two brothers, identified as Rasem and Mohammed Zayed, before taking them to an unknown location.
On February 25, Israeli naval forces opened fire on a Palestinian fishing boat off the coast of the Gaza Strip, killing a fisherman and injuring two others.
About 4,000 fishermen work in Gaza, half of whom live below the poverty line.
Israel imposed a limit of three nautical miles on fishing in the waters off the Gaza shore until August 2014, when Palestinian fishermen were allowed to go out six miles.
Under a ceasefire agreement reached between Israelis and Palestinians following a deadly 50-day Israeli war in August 2014, Tel Aviv agreed to immediately expand the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast, allowing Palestinian fishermen to sail as far as six nautical miles off the shore.
Under the Oslo Accords, the fishing zone is supposed to extend to 20 nautical miles, but it has shrunk over the years as the Tel Aviv regime has imposed greater restrictions.
Over the past few years, Israeli forces have carried out more than a hundred attacks on Palestinian boats, arresting dozens of fishermen and confiscating several boats.
The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.