Last updated: 7 March, 2015

Palestinian fisherman killed by Israeli fire: medics

A Palestinian fisherman was shot dead by Israeli forces on Saturday off the coast of the Gaza Strip, a spokesman for the Palestinian health services said.

The 32-year-old died in hospital in Gaza City after he and two other fishermen in the same boat were fired upon by the Israeli navy.

The two other fishermen were arrested and taken to Israel, spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.

An Israeli army spokeswoman told AFP that four Palestinian boats had strayed out of their designated fishing zone overnight Friday.

“Soldiers fired warning shots then targeted the engines of two of the boats, which were then transferred to Israel for investigation,” she said. “The two other boats were able to return to Gaza.”

The spokeswoman added that the Israeli navy was on alert “to prevent arms transfers into the Gaza Strip” but did not comment on casualties.

Under the terms of Israel’s eight-year blockade of the Palestinian territory, Gaza’s fishermen have the right to trawl the waters up to six nautical miles off the coast.

But fishermen have said the Israeli navy opens fire before they reach that limit.

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