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Gaza fishermen come under Israeli fire

1 May 2010 0:48

The Israeli navy has attacked Palestinian fishing boats, the latest in only part of Israel’s various measures to tighten the noose of its siege on the Gaza Strip.

The incident happened on Friday morning when Israeli forces opened “heavy fire” on Gazan fishing boats off the Rafah coast in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian Ma’an news agency quoted the fishermen as saying. There were not any reports of casualties, it added.

An Israeli military official declined to verify the incident, but said the patrolling navy vessels would target the boats which would “cross” the fishing limit.

The International Middle East Media Center reported a similar Israeli attack on Tuesday on Palestinian fishermen who were working close to the coastline, inflicting damage on their boats.

Meanwhile, Palestinians accuse Israel of unilaterally reducing the limit line to three nautical miles from the 20-nautical-mile extent set under the Oslo Accords, which addressed the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Marine life and agriculture remain two of the Gaza Strip’s staple sources of livelihood under ever since mid-June 2007, when Tel Aviv imposed a crippling embargo on the impoverished coastal sliver.

Gazans find it almost impossible to fish as the waters are polluted with sewage which given Gaza’s broken waste disposal system its residents have nowhere else to dump.

The Israeli navy also carries out regular patrols of the shore to prevent the fishermen from sailing deep into the sea where they can net quality fish.

Israel has, meanwhile, declared 20 percent of the arable lands in Gaza a no-go area. Israeli forces would keep surveillance of the area and attack any farmer who might approach the “buffer zone.”

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