Middle East

Palestinian official: Fisherman shot dead by Israeli navy

A chilly relationship between the Obama administration and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu became even chillier because of the address before Congress. Is it beyond repair?

 

Israeli naval forces shot a Palestinian fisherman dead Saturday off the coast of Gaza, a Palestinian health official said.

Tawfiq Abu Riala, 32, was killed and two other Gaza fishermen were arrested, said Ashraf al-Kidra, a Gaza health ministry spokesman.

The Israeli military said its forces identified a number of vessels that had "deviated from the designated fishing zone" and ordered them to halt their progress. When the vessels did not comply, the forces opened fire at their engines to stop them, the military said.

It was not clear how the fisherman ended up in the line of fire.

Israel maintains a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip to prevent the smuggling of weapons to the coastal strip's Islamic Hamas leaders and other militant groups that operate in the territory.

Following last summer's 50-day war in Gaza, Israel agreed to double the permitted fishing zone for Gazans to six nautical miles. It recently also loosened restrictions to allow Gaza fishermen to export their catch to the West Bank for the first time since 2007.