A young Palestinian man has been shot dead after Israeli naval forces opened fire on several Palestinian fishing boats off the northern coast of the besieged Gaza Strip.
Head of the Palestinian Fishermen’s Union Nizar Ayyash said on Monday that the assault occurred overnight, when Israeli forces detained four crewmen of a single boat, including a critically wounded fisherman who has been identified as 28-year-old Mohammed Majed Bakr.
Bakr, however, succumbed to his injuries in an Israeli hospital later in the day.
Israeli naval forces also arrested two other crewmen of another boat before impounding both fishing boats.
The Israeli regime regularly shoots and detains Gazan fishermen over allegations of crossing the “designated fishing zone,” which is practically three nautical miles.
Under a ceasefire agreement reached between Israelis and Palestinians following the deadly 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. The agreement also stipulated that Israel would expand the area gradually up to 12 miles.
Palestinian fishermen, however, say the Israeli navy opens fire on them before they reach the agreed limit. About 4,000 fishermen work in Gaza, half of whom live below the poverty line.
Since the beginning of the current year, Israeli forces have confiscated five fishing boats, arrested 14 Palestinian fishermen, shot and injured five, of whom one was fatally wounded, according to al-Mezan Center for Human Rights.
Last year, 135 fishermen were arrested, 26 were wounded by direct Israeli gunfire and 43 boasts were impounded. The repeated assaults damage or destroy a large amount of fishing equipment of the Palestinians every year.
The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.