Israeli forces have arrested 81 Palestinian fishermen near the Gaza Strip during the first half of 2016, a new report revealed yesterday.
The Palestinian Prisoners' Centre for Studies said Israeli authorities deliberately target Gaza's fishermen by shooting them or destroying their boats to further impose the blockade.
According to the report, the first half of 2016 saw a 200 per cent increase in the number of fishermen targeted compared to last year. "Fifty-two fishermen were arrested in 2015 while 81 fishermen were arrested during the first half of this year," it said.
More than half the arrests occurred during May and June, with 42 fishermen detained. Fifteen-year-old Ayamn Mohamed Sultan is amongst those being held, he was arrested after he was shot twice in the leg,
"The Israeli occupation's prosecution of the fishermen aims to prevent this important sector from surviving in order to add the fishermen and their families to the long list of those who are unemployment in the enclave and increase the burden on the Palestinian residents and the government since this profession constitutes the main source of income for thousands of residents."
"Moreover, it aims to pressure the fishermen to cooperate with the Israeli intelligence service and work as agents against the local authorities," the report added.