Israeli gunships opened their automatic machine guns on the Palestinian fishermen along the Gaza coast in the early morning of Monday.
Witnesses said that the shooting towards the Palestinian fishing boats had started before dawn and continued until morning. No casualties have been reported.
The Israeli navy had been repeatedly shooting at the Palestinian fishermen along the Gaza Sea. The fishermen said they were trying to frighten them in order to prevent them from staying in the sea long enough to fish.
Gaza fishermen are allowed to sail 3 nautical miles from the coast for fishing. Following The truce agreement reached between Israel and the Palestinians in November last year, the fishing distance was extended to 6 nautical miles. Several months later, Israel retracted the agreement to only 3 miles.
The Israeli reduction of the fishing distance has come as a heavy cost for the Gaza fishermen as they lose fishing time during the sardine season.
“The Israeli retraction of the agreement reached with the Palestinian fighters has caused a number of losses for the fishermen,” Nizar Ayesh, the head of fishermen union said. “They are losing the sardine season.”
Describing the effects of the reduction on the fishermen and their families, Ayesh said: “The reduction means that 700 fishing boats along the whole Gaza coast will be out of work. About 3,500 fishermen working on board of these boats are going to become unemployed.”
He also said that 70 boats had already stopped working and about 750 fishermen have already been made unemployed.
Ayesh said that five to ten fishermen work on board each fishing boat.