Israeli Navy Arrests Six Fishermen off Gaza Coast

GAZA, July 7, 2015 (WAFA) – The Israeli navy on Tuesday arrested six Palestinian fishermen while sailing offshore the coast of Khan Younes, in the southern Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR).

PCHR said a number of Israeli naval boats opened fire at fishing boats from a distance before they sailed towards them and arrested six fishermen and seized three boats. No casualties were reported in the live fire attack.

The six fishermen were identified as Kamal Abu Warda, 45, Ref’at Abu Warda, 21, Ref’at Zayed, 26, Medhat Zayed, 23, Ramadan Abu Warda, 37, and Mahmoud Abu Warda, 26.

The attacks come despite of Israeli promises to ease restrictions on Palestinians’ access to both the sea and the border region near the unilaterally imposed buffer zone.

Israeli naval boats routinely open fire at Palestinian fishermen sailing within the six-nautical-mile allowed zone for fishing as well as on farmlands along the borders, flagrantly violating the ceasefire deal.

In May alone, there were a total of 51 incidents of shootings, incursions into the coastal enclave, and arrests, according to the PCHR.

This included 41 shootings, which left nine injured, including one minor.

Israel and the Palestinian factions signed a ceasefire deal on August 26 2014 ending the latest 2014 summer deadly Israeli onslaught on Gaza which claimed the lives of over 2,200 people, overwhelmingly civilians.

Under the ceasefire deal, Israel was to immediately ease the blockade imposed on the strip and expand the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast, allowing fishermen to sail as far as six nautical miles from shore, and would continue to expand the area gradually. Israel has so far failed to do so.