Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Israel navy shoots, critically injures Gaza fisherman

July 21, 2015 12:37 P.M. (Updated: July 21, 2015 2:18 P.M.)

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces shot and injured a Palestinian fisherman with live rounds off the coast of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, witnesses said.Witnesses said that the fisherman in his 20s was hit with a live bullet in his back and several rubber-coated steel bullets in his hand while fishing off the coast northwest of Gaza City.The unidentified fisherman was taken to al-Shifa Hospital where his injury was reported as critical.An Israeli army spokeswoman had information of an incident off the Gazan coast, but said she was not aware of any injuries sustained by Palestinians.She said that Israeli naval forces fired warning shots "in the air and in the water" after a Palestinian fishing vessel "deviated from the designated fishing zone."She said that the boat "ignored the warnings," at which point Israeli forces fired at the boat's engine.She said that the fishermen and boat were taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod for questioning, before they were released.It was not clear whether the incident was related to the injury reported in Gaza.Israeli forces have repeatedly opened fire on Palestinian fisherman and farmers since the ceasefire agreement signed Aug. 26, 2014 that ended a devastating 50-day Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip.In May alone, there were a total of 51 incidents of shootings, incursions into the coastal enclave, and arrests, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.This included 41 shootings, which left nine injured, including one minor.The attacks come despite Israeli promises at the end of the ceasefire to ease restrictions on Palestinian access to both the sea and the border region near the "security buffer zone."