The Palestinian Fishermen’s Union has suspended all fishing activities off the coasts of the Gaza Strip from Sunday morning to Sunday evening in protest of the killing of a fisherman by the Egyptian navy.
Captain Nizar Ayyash said that the decision was made after the killing of fisherman Abdullah Ramadan Zidan, 33, in the early hours of Fajr on Saturday when he was fishing out at sea off the Palestinian coast of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip. The fisherman, out on the Palestinian side of the maritime border early in the morning to bring a livelihood for his family living inside besieged Gaza, was shot to death by the Egyptian border control.
“What was his sin?” asked his grieving mother, Maryam Zeidan. “He was just trying to be the breadwinner for his four children.”
Whilst Israeli occupation forces often shot and kill Gazan fisherman, Ayyash said that “the fisherman was subjected to direct fire by the Egyptian army,” and stressed the “need to open an immediate investigation into the incident,” calling on Palestinian officials to work with the Egyptians and bring those responsible to account.
For its part, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) issued a statement in which it strongly condemned the firing of the Egyptian army directly at Palestinian fishermen without justification.
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For more than a decade, Israel has imposed an air, sea and land blockade on some two million Palestinians in the impoverished and overcrowded Gaza Strip, preventing Palestinian fishermen from doing business in the northern Gaza sea near their own borders.
Since Hamas handed over control of the Rafah Gazan-Egyptian border to the Palestinian authority on the 1st of November 2017, it has only been opened for a handful of days for only ‘humanitarian cases.’ This is not the first time Egyptian forces loyal to the coup government have opened fire at Gazan civilians who have mistakenly neared the heavily guarded border.