Israeli Navy Targets Fishermen with Gunfire off Gaza

GAZA, March 12, 2015 (WAFA) – The Israeli navy Thursday targeted Palestinian fishermen with gunfire while they were sailing offshore Gaza City, according to WAFA correspondent.

He said the navy fired a hail of gunfire towards Palestinian fishing boats despite sailing within the six-nautical-mile zone allocated to fishing activities. There were no reports of casualties, however.

A few day ago, Israeli naval boats opened heavy gunfire on fishermen sailing within the allowed zone, killing fisherman Tawfiq Abu Rayyala, 25, who was shot with a bullet in the abdomen before succumbing to his wounds in a nearby hospital.

Israeli navy and army routinely open fire on Palestinian fishermen sailing within the six-nautical-mile zone, as well as farmers in farmlands along the border.

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

Under the terms of the ceasefire, 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.

Israel has however failed to do so, repeatedly violating the ceasefire deal through opening fire on Palestinian fishermen within the fishing zone and reducing their intake.

Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza after Hamas won the parliamentary elections and ascended to power in 2006. The blockade was tightened after the Hamas’ subsequent takeover of the coastal enclave from President Mahmoud Abbas’ loyal security services in 2007.