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Israel navy arrests 2 fishermen off Gaza coast

July 22, 2019 at 8:32 am

Gaza fishermen on 2 July 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Israeli naval forces on Sunday arrested two Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the blockaded Gaza Strip, according to a local union, Anadolu reports.

Fishermen were identified as Isam Nabil Al-Akra, 24, and his brother Riad Al-Akra, 20, Gaza’s fishermen union said in a written statement.

Israeli forces also seized the fishermen’s boats, the statement added.

The Israeli military has yet to issue an official statement on the arrests.

According to Palestinian figures, roughly 50,000 inhabitants of Gaza earn their living through fishing.

READ: The solution to Israel’s siege on Gaza is decolonisation

After Israel’s 2014 onslaught against the Hamas-run Gaza Strip — where more than 2,150 Palestinians were killed–, Israel began allowing Palestinian fishermen to ply their trade up to six nautical miles off Gaza’s coast.

In May, the Israeli army said the fishing zone was cut to 10 nautical miles, down from 15 miles, after arson balloons were launched from Gaza into Israel.

Palestinian officials say Israeli naval forces frequently open fire on Gazan fishermen on the pretext that they were fishing outside the allowed zone.