Navy Shoots Gaza Fisherman Exceeding Offshore Limit

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -

The Israeli navy shot and killed a Palestinian on a Gaza fishing boat in the Mediterranean on Monday after the craft ignored warning shots and continued to stray out of its authorized zone, the Israeli military said.

“A fishing boat from Gaza strayed beyond the designated fishing zone, naval vessels called on it to halt and fired warning shots into the air and when it did not, they fired towards it,” the Israeli spokeswoman said.

“A Palestinian was injured and was taken to an Israeli hospital where he was later pronounced dead,” she added.

The Palestinian fishing union identified him as Gaza fisherman Mohammed Baker, 33. The union says its boats are often fired on and that boats and crews are sometimes detained.

Israeli authorities recently expanded the offshore fishing zone to accommodate the main fishing season, May to June. However, the temporary easement was made on condition that the fishermen comply with restrictions and so not attempt to exploit it for smuggling or terrorist activities.

In 2016, Israel detained at least 70 Gaza fishermen who had strayed beyond the border, a senior naval commander said.