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Gaza fisherman dies of wounds sustained in Israeli gunfire

Tawfiq Abu Reyala, 34, succumbed to wounds he sustained after the Israeli navy fired shots off the Gaza coast
Fisherman in Gaza have struggled to make a living with an Israeli siege from the sea (AFP/Mohammed Abed)

A Palestinian fishermen died Saturday of wounds sustained after Israeli naval forces fired shots off the coast of the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Health Ministry has said.

"Tawfiq Abu Reyala, 34, succumbed to his injures on Saturday," ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qodra told the Anadolu Agency.

Abu Reyala was injured early on Saturday when Israeli naval forces opened fire on fishing boats off the coast of the Gaza Strip.

Two other fishermen were detained by Israeli forces, according to Nizar Ayyash, the head of the Gaza fishermen's union.

Ayyash said the Israeli army claimed the boats had gone beyond the six nautical miles from the coast allowed by the Israeli navy.

The Israeli army did not give an immediate comment. 

The Israeli navy routinely opens fire on Palestinian fishing boats on the pretext that they are fishing in unauthorised waters.

Last summer, Israel allowed Palestinian fishermen to ply their trade up to six nautical miles off the Gaza coast – as opposed to three miles previously.

A ceasefire reached in August between Israel and Palestinian factions ended 51 days of relentless Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, which killed over 2,160 Palestinians, mostly civilians.

Ever since Hamas – which Israel deems a "terrorist" organisation – won 2006 Palestinian legislative polls, Israel has imposed a tight land and sea blockade on the coastal strip.