Friday, October 29, 2010

Gaza fishermen report Israeli naval fire

GAZA (Ma’an) -- Israeli war boats opened fire on Gazan fishing boats on Friday, as they were hauling their catch in the central and southern coastal districts, witnesses reported.

Officials said no injuries had been reported, while witnesses said the fire forced the small vessels leave the waters, heading north or back to shore.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said she was unable to confirm the report, but added that "when fishing boats deviate from their designated area, Israeli naval forces will fire warning shots toward them."

In September, one fisherman was killed when Israeli ships enforcing the naval blockade of the coastal enclave opened fire at his vessel.

Gaza fishermen say ever-tightening restrictions on where they can fish, frequent attacks by Israeli gunboats and an economic blockade in place since 2007 are putting more and more of them out of business.

In 2008, the fishing limit imposed by the Israeli military was cut from six nautical miles to just three. Under the Oslo peace accords, a 20 nautical mile fishing limit was set in 1995.