Photo: AFP/Maan News Agency
Photo: AFP/Maan News Agency

Gaza, 16 Sya’ban 1436/ 3 June 2015 (MINA) – Three Palestinian fishermen were injured on Tuesday morning after Israeli naval forces opened fire on fishing boats off the coast of al-Sudaniyya in the northern Gaza Strip.

Speaker of the union of Gaza fishermen, Nizar Ayyash, told Ma’an that three fishermen from al-Shati refugee camp in the northwestern Gaza Strip had been moved to a hospital, Ma’an News Agency  reports as quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).

An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed two fishermen had been shot by Israeli forces.

She said that after their vessel “deviated from the designated fishing zone,” Israeli naval forces called on them to halt, firing warning shots into the air, then into the water, and then “at the body of the vessel.”

Still “refusing” to halt, she said that forces fired on their “lower extremities,” and “two suspects” had been confirmed hit.

She had no information on a third fisherman.

The spokeswoman said that “every deviation from the designated fishing zone is a possible security threat to Israeli security,” as Palestinian vessels “smuggle illegal material and weapons through the maritime zone.”

She suggested that vessels heading from the coast may be heading out “to meet” other smuggling vessels.

Israeli troops on Tuesday also opened fire from border watchtowers on Palestinian farmers working on land in Khuzaa in the southeastern Gaza Strip, with no injuries reported.

Tuesday’s shootings came a day after five Palestinian fishermen were reportedly detained after their vessel crossed into Israeli territorial waters.

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 March alone, there were a total of 35 incidents of shootings, incursions into the coastal enclave, and arrests, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

The shootings left 10 injured, including three minors.

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.” (T/P010/R03)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)