The body of a Palestinian fisherman who went missing three days ago after his boat was allegedly struck by an Egyptian gunboat was found off the coast of Gaza on Tuesday evening.
Rami Ezzat Bakr’s body was found off the coast of Gaza City after it was swept ashore by the current, according to the head of the Gazan Fishermen’s Syndicate, Nizar Ayyash.
Ayyash told The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that Bakr was killed after being directly attacked by the Egyptian gunboat, while another Palestinian fisherman who was assaulted survived.
The fisherman’s syndicate called on government agencies to intervene and investigate the circumstances behind the 45-year-old’s death.
Bakr’s death raises the number of Palestinian fishermen killed by the Egyptian military in recent years to six, according to Ayyash.
Among them were victims shot by the Navy and others whose boats were trampled on and deliberately sunk, he alleged. The New Arab could not verify these claims.
The Fishermen’s Syndicate in Gaza say they have documented three violations by the Egyptian Navy against Palestinian fishermen since the start of this year.
It added that the fishermen are subjected to daily attacks by the Israeli Navy, which also include shootings, arrests, and the intentional damaging and sinking of boats.
Israel has long placed tight restrictions on the fishing industry in Gaza, an integral part of the territory’s economy which sustains thousands of families living in the besieged enclave.
As part of its siege of Gaza which began in 2007 following Hamas’ takeover of the strip, Israel limits the areas in which Palestinian fishing boats can operate to 3 nautical miles, or 5.6 km. This is done in coordination with the Egyptian authorities, who have reportedly arrested or shot and killed a number of Palestinian fishermen in recent years.
Rights groups have slammed the blockade as a form of illegal collective punishment.