25 March 2010
Fisherman Hazem Gora’ani, age 26, from the town of Deir Al Balah, south of Gaza City, was brought to Shifa Hospital with serious head wounds around 9 o’clock this morning.
Over the next 72 hours Mr Gora’ani will be monitored and the decision will be made about the need for further operations, including to remove bits of shrapnel lodged in his brain.
We talked to Mr Gora’ani’s brother Nafiz who was anxiously waiting in front of the ICU with a relative and another two fishermen for news about Hazem.
Nafiz was not present when the incident happened and he gave us an account by their brother who was fishing with Hazem and a third fisherman in a small hassaka boat this morning.
They were fishing well inside the Palestinian waters, less than three nautical miles away from the shore with another hassaka, when they were approached by the Israeli speed boat who attempted to kidnap them and take them to Ashkelon.
They panicked and tried to sail towards the coast. In response the Israeli soldiers opened a barrage of fire which critically injured Hazem. A collegue who was present in the hospital told us that there are a number of bullet holes in the hassaka.
A group of Gazan fisherman whom ISM talked with recently told us that Israeli soldiers fire at the fishermen so frequently that incidents are rarely reported if they did not result in serious injury. Only a few weeks ago two hassakas were kidnapped by the Israeli soldiers and destroyed after being taken to Ashkelon, whilst the fishermen were being interrogated and later released.