Gaza fisherman shot dead by Israeli navy
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Gaza fisherman shot dead by Israeli navy

Army says soldiers opened fire on Palestinian boat after it left designated fishing zone

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Palestinian fishermen on a boat off the coast of the Gaza Strip, February 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Palestinian fishermen on a boat off the coast of the Gaza Strip, February 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

An IDF naval patrol shot and killed a Palestinian fisherman off the coast of the Gaza Strip on Sunday after his boat strayed from the designated fishing zone, the army said in a statement.

“The suspicious ship left the fishing zone off the northern Gaza Strip, with three suspects on it. In response, the IDF troops conducted the arrest protocol, which included calls [to stop], warning shots in the air and shots at the boat itself,” the IDF statement said.

“As a result of the gunfire, one of the suspects was seriously injured and later died of his wounds,” the army says.

The military said an investigation into the man’s death had been opened, and that no Israeli soldiers were injured in the incident.

Around 4,000 fishermen work in Gaza, more than half of whom live below the poverty line.

Palestinians sell fish at the Fras market in Gaza City on January 21, 2018. (AFP/ MAHMUD HAMS)

Israel, which has imposed a 10-year blockade on Gaza to prevent arms smuggling to terrorist groups, bans fishing beyond six nautical miles (11 kilometers) off the coast. Boats exceeding that limit are at risk of being considered suspicious, and may be fired upon as possible arms-smuggling vessels.

The Israeli army has in the past intercepted a number of vessels that were attempting to smuggle weapons to the coastal enclave.

Last week, a Gaza fisherman was shot dead by a Egyptian naval patrol after his boat neared the maritime border with Egypt in the south of the coastal enclave. Gaza officials claimed he had never crossed the naval border into Egypt, and called on Cairo to investigate the circumstances of his death.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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