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Israel opens fire at Gazan fishermen, breaching ceasefire

Ahram Online , Friday 12 Sep 2014
Gaza
Palestinian fishermen clean their fishnets at the fishermen's port in Gaza City, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2014 (Photo: AP)
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Israeli naval ships opened fire on Palestinian fishermen on Friday morning near the Gaza Strip coastline and forced them to return to land.

According to Egypt's state-run MENA agency, fishermen said that "occupation forces broke the ceasefire" between Israel and the Palestinian factions reached in August.

The fishermen are reportedly complaining about Israeli obstructions to their sailing and fishing activities despite abiding by the six-nautical-mile limit stipulated in the open-ended ceasefire deal brokered by Egypt.

An Israeli army spokesman told Ma'an news agency that "several vessels deviated from the designated fishing zone."  

In the same report, the Palestinian news agency said that the incident was the third recorded since the declaration of the truce, stating that Israeli forces had also opened fire against a fishing boat on Wednesday after allegedly violating the authorised, fishing range.

In addition, four fishermen were detained near Beit Lahiya by Israeli gunboats one day earlier. Their boat were seized as well. 

The ceasefire agreement ended a seven-week Israeli assault on the coastal enclave that left around 2,143 Palestinians dead and more than 12,000 injured. During the campaign 70 Israelis - including 64 soldiers - were killed.

Egypt's initiative – on which the truce deal was built – included opening crossings into Gaza for goods and humanitarian and food aid, along with medical supplies and material to repair water, electricity and mobile phone networks.

Both sides also agreed to immediately end restrictions on Palestinian boats in order to allow fishing and sailing activities up to six nautical miles.

But talks on crunch issues such as Hamas's demands for a port and an airport and the release of prisoners, as well as Israel's calls to disarm Palestinian groups, were be delayed until negotiators return to Cairo within this month.

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