|[ 04/01/2011 - 07:17 PM ]|
GAZA, (PIC)-- Israeli navy gunboats kidnapped a yet unspecified number of Palestinian fishermen who were fishing off the Gaza port on Tuesday morning, the Palestinian agriculture ministry said.
The ministry's fisheries department said in a press release that the gunboats attacked the fishing boat and took away those on board, whose number could not be certified yet. It added that the fishing boat capsized.
The ministry held the Israeli occupation authority fully responsible for the lives of those fishermen, and called on human rights groups and the Red Cross to immediately intervene to secure their release.
Around 3,500 fishermen in Gaza Strip work on 700 fishing boats to provide sustenance for almost 70,000 people. They are systematically harassed by Israeli navy vessels.
Gaza fishermen detained from local waters
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- An unknown number of Gaza fishermen were detained Tuesday morning after being apprehended by Israeli warships off the coast of Gaza City.
Gaza's Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement that fellow fishermen reported the detention, after seeing the boat of the men approached by Israeli vessels maintaining the sea blockade on Gaza.
The boat was approached and the men were detained and taken to an unknown location, officials said.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said that the boat had "deviated from the fishing area" and refused to halt when a naval ship called out ordering them to turn around.
The craft was towed to the Israeli port of Ashdod and the men were taken for questioning, she said.
The ministry said the lives of the fishermen were in the hands of Israel, and condemned their detention from Gaza waters, demanding their immediate release.
Israel maintains a three nautical mile fishing limit, enforced unilaterally since 2008 when the country launched its war on the coastal enclave. Prior to the war, a unilaterally-declared six nautical mile limit was imposed following the election of the Hamas government in 2006.
The last agreed upon fishing limit for Gaza was 20 nautical miles, signed off on during the Oslo accords in the 1990s.