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Israeli gunboat fires on fishermen in Gazan waters

1 June 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, Gaza

Ramadan Zidan, 51, and his son Mohamed, 20 set sail from the harbor in Gaza at seven in the morning, they didn’t plan to go far, only to fish outside of the harbor. For an hour and half everything went well, it was a beautiful morning and they still hoped to have a successful day of fishing. When the Israeli gunboat first started to approach them at eight thirty a.m. they thought nothing of it, they were close to the port, nowhere near the Israeli imposed three mile limit on Palestinian fisherman. Unexpectedly the gunboat started to shoot around their boat. The boat wasn’t hit, and the gunboat left the area, so the men went back to fishing. Then they saw the gunboat turn around and come at them again. It opened fire on the boat again; the front of their boat was hit several times with bullets. The gunboat then told the men that they were under arrest. Fearing that after confiscating the boat the Israeli’s would either damage the boat while it was in Ashdod, as routinely happens to the seized boats of Palestinian fisherman, or even worse refuse to return the boat, the fisherman started the engine and began to return to port. The gunboat shot the engine of the boat, but miraculously the engine didn’t stop working and the fisherman made it safely back to port despite the shell in the engine and the many bullet holes in their ship. They hope to return to fishing soon, they have no other way to support their families.