The Israeli occupation navy enforcing the siege of the Gaza Strip opened fire on two fishing boats off the shores of Rafah on Friday, 8 April, forcing four fishers off the boats, detaining them and seizing their two fishing boats. Ahmed Bardawil, Iyad Bardawil, Mohammed Musleh and Bilal Musleh were arrested by the occupation forces, said Zakaria Baker of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, which organizes Palestinian fishers and farmers to defend the land and the rights of Palestinians.
The attacks on the Bardawil and Musleh fishing boats come only hours after two more Palestinian fishers, Eyad Alloun and Raed Abu Odeh, were arrested off the coast of Khan Younis on Thursday, 7 April, all while sailing within the designated 9 nautical mile fishing zone, extended off the Gaza coast from six nautical miles just last week. Alloun and Abu Odeh’s boat was left drifting at sea before being towed back by other Palestinian fishers.
The small fishing area, which limits access to larger and more valuable fish, is enforced by live fire from naval gunships as part of the ongoing blockade of Gaza.
In 2015, 71 fishers were arrested and 22 fishing boats confiscated; the confiscation of fishing boats is a devastating blow to the livelihood of a fishing family.
UAWC video on Palestinian fishers in Gaza: