Middle East

Gaza fisherman 'killed by Israeli navy'

Fishermen in Gaza. 21 Sept 2010
Image caption Fishermen in Gaza complain that the area within the 5km zone is fished out

A fisherman has been shot and killed by the Israeli navy off the northern coast of the Gaza Strip, doctors in the territory say.

Israeli officials say the boat had strayed beyond the limit to which Palestinians are allowed to fish under the Israeli blockade.

However, they say a warning shot was fired first.

Israel says the naval blockade is necessary to stop weapons being smuggled to militants within Gaza.

But the restrictions make life very difficult for Gaza's fishermen.

It means they can only operate in a narrow stretch of water going no further than 5km (3 miles) out to sea. Fisherman say the small area is virtually fished out.

In Gaza it is not uncommon to hear the sound of machine-gun fire off the coast, as the Israeli navy fires upon boats it says have breached the limit.

In recent weeks there has been an increase in rocket fire into Israel by Palestinian militants, and last week Israel admitted it had wrongly shot and killed three civilians, including a 91-year-old man.

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