World Bulletin/News Desk
Israeli naval forces have sunk a Palestinian fishing boat off the coast of the Gaza Strip Thursday.
"Three Israeli naval gunboats opened heavy machine fire on a Palestinian fishing boat off the shores of the central Gaza Strip city of Deir al-Balah," Nizar Ayyash, head of Gaza's Fishermen Union, told Anadolu Agency.
"[Five fishermen] tried to steer the boat towards Deir al-Balah, but it eventually sank due to heavy fire from the Israeli gunboats," he said.
Ayyash added that the five Palestinian fishermen who were on board the boat had managed to jump into the water and swim to shore.
The Israeli army has yet to comment on the incident.
In late August, Israel allowed Palestinian fishermen to ply their trade up to six nautical miles off the coast of the Gaza Strip – as opposed to a previous three miles.
The Palestinian Agriculture Ministry, however, said earlier this month that the Israeli navy had reduced the fishing zone to five miles – in breach of a recently-concluded cease-fire agreement.
The cease-fire had ended 51 days of relentless Israeli attacks on the coastal enclave, which saw over 2,160 Palestinians killed – the vast majority of them civilians – and nearly 11,000 injured.
According to Ayyash, some 50,000 Gazans earn their living from the fishing business.
He estimated their combined losses during Israel's recent war at more than $6 million.
Ever since Hamas – which Israel deems a "terrorist" organization – won the 2006 legislative polls, Israel has imposed a tight land and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip.
The self-proclaimed Jewish state tightened the blockade even further after Hamas took control of the enclave from rival Fatah one year later.Last Mod: 17 Ekim 2014, 10:54