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Israel naval forces 'escalate' attacks on Palestinian fishermen

Palestinian fishermen in Gaza City, Gaza [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian fishermen in Gaza City, Gaza [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli naval forces have "escalated their attacks" against Palestinian fishermen, according to a statement issued Sunday by the Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR).

These attacks have "prevented them from fishing freely and denying them access to the areas where fish breed" off the coast of the occupied Gaza Strip.

According to PCHR, these recent incidents contradict "Israeli authorities' claims of easing the ongoing naval blockade and expanding the fishing area to nine nautical miles off the Gaza shore".

On Saturday night, Israeli gunboats stationed off Deir al-Balah "chased a fishing boat belonging to Mohammed Sa'id Abu Riyalah that was sailing within eight nautical miles", then "surrounded the fishing boat", and arrested the six fishermen on board.

Read: Israel detained 4 Palestinian fishermen from Gaza

Last Thursday, meanwhile, Israeli gunboats opened water cannons "at a fishing boat belonging to Nafeth Salah, from Gaza City", as it sailed "within three nautical miles off Al-Soudaniyah".

Noting these two attacks, PCHR called on the international community "to intervene to stop all Israeli violations against fishermen and allow them to fish freely in the Gaza Sea", and urged Israel to "stop chasing the fishermen" and release the detained men and equipment.

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