Israeli forces arrest 10 Palestinian fishermen off Gaza coast
Palestinian authorities say Israeli naval forces have detained ten fishermen after opening fire on several Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of the besieged Gaza Strip.
Head of the Fishermen Committees in the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Zakaria Bakr, told Arabic-language Palestine al-Yawm news agency that Israeli forces targeted the Palestinian boats off the shores of Rafah city, located 30 kilometers south of Gaza City, on Monday.
Bakr added that marines then boarded the boats and nabbed those on board, before taking the Palestinian fishermen to an unknown location in the Port of Ashdod, located about 40 kilometers south of Tel Aviv.
On February 25, Israeli naval forces opened fire on a Palestinian fishing boat off the coast of the besieged 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 peace 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.