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Israeli forces attack Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza with live fire, water cannon

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)
An Israeli gunboat is blasting water at a Palestinian fishing boat off the coasts of the besieged Gaza Strip, on October 17, 2019. (Photo by PIC)

Israeli naval forces have attacked Palestinian fishing boats off the coasts of the besieged Gaza Strip, shooting live ammunition and blasting water from cannons at them to prevent the Palestinian fishermen from doing their job.

The attack took place within three nautical miles off the shore of al-Sudaniya area in the northwest of Gaza City on Thursday, Palestine's official WAFA news agency reported.

The live bullets and blasting water hoses inflicted damage to Palestinian fishing boats but no injuries were reported though fishermen were forced to abandon their boats and swim to the coast.

Almost every day, Israeli naval forces harass Gazan fishermen, shoot at them, damage their boats, and make arrests. Sometimes, fishermen are wounded or killed during gunfire attacks.

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 after a deadly 50-day Israeli war in the same month.

The fishing zone is supposed to extend to 20 nautical miles under the Oslo Accords, which were signed between the Israeli regime and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) during the early-mid 1990s to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In May 2017, Israeli authorities expanded the fishing area for Gaza fishermen to nine nautical miles.

During the past few years, however, Israeli forces have carried out more than a hundred attacks on Palestinian boats, arresting dozens of fishermen and confiscating several boats. Furthermore, they time and again prevent Gazan fishermen from doing their job.

The Israeli attacks on Palestinian fishermen and the restrictions imposed on them have severely affected the livelihoods of some 4,000 fishermen and at least 1,500 more people involved in the fishing industry.

Gaza has been under the Israeli siege since June 2007, which has caused a decline in living standards.

Israel has also launched three major wars against the enclave since 2008, killing thousands of Gazans and shattering the impoverished territory’s already poor infrastructure.

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