Israeli navy detains family of Palestinian fishermen off Gaza coast
The Israeli forces fired gunshots at the fishermen, who are siblings, before surrounding their boat and subsequently detaining them three nautical miles off the al-Sudaniyya coast, northwest of the enclave's capital city, according to the official Palestinian Wafa agency.
Israeli navy forces then went on to transfer the men to Ashdod Port, in southern Israel, as well as towing their boat to the same location.
Their arrest was confirmed by the coordinator of the Federation of Fishermen's Committees, Zakaria Bakr.
The fishermen were later identified as Haitham, Amjad, Jabr and Firas Tariq Bakr.
Israeli forces frequently target Palestinian fishermen off the besieged Gaza coast. Navy forces often shoot at boats, sometimes fatally, arrest fishermen, destroy fishing nets and seize boats and equipment and obstruct them from carrying out their profession.
Additionally, Israel heavily restricts the fishing industry in Gaza, by limiting the areas in which Palestinian fishing boats can operate. The restrictions are part of Israel’s blockade of the enclave which began in 2007 following the election of Hamas, who has governed Gaza ever since.
Fishing is a major source of livelihood in the blockaded Gaza enclave, sustaining thousands of families in a territory where poverty is rife.
Also on Monday, the Israeli military destroyed parts of agricultural land in Khan Younis when bulldozers and tanks razed farmland with gas canisters and smoke bombs launched in the area.
The Israeli military often raids farmland in the Gaza Strip, causing suffering to local farmers.
The Israeli blockade on the strip has been condemned by rights groups, who have called it a form of illegal collective punishment imposed on the people of Gaza.
The siege severely impacts essential services such as education, healthcare, water and electricity services, plunging the population – which numbers at 2.3 million – into poverty and daily suffering. Moreover, the embargo restricts movement for Gazans to and from Israel and the West Bank, as well as overseas.