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Italian Activist Hurt In Gaza Fishing Boat Attack

An Italian solidarity activist who sailed into Gaza has been injured yesterday (16th September) by the Israeli Navy while he was accompanying fishermen in Gaza.

Vittorio Arrigoni was hit by flying glass as the Israeli navy used a high power water cannon against the unarmed boats. The water canon smashed the glass surrounding the steering section of the boat, with shards lacerating Vittorio's back. He was been taken to hospital immediately upon reaching shore, requiring stitches.

International activists were accompanying Gazan fishermen 8 miles out from shore, as they have been doing regularly since they arrived in Gaza with the 'Free Gaza Movement' boats.

The Israeli navy have imposed severe restrictions on fishing Gazan waters, regularly attacking any boats attempting to fish over 3 nautical miles. With international accompaniment, fishermen have been regularly attempting to fish outside the Israeli imposed limits.

On the 1st of September, international activists managed to film the Israeli navy opening fire on fishing boats 8 miles from the Gaza coast.

The International Solidarity Movement has recently announced the re- establishment of ISM Rafah. Internationals will continue to accompany fishermen attempting to continue their livelihood that is being destroyed by the Israeli siege and occupation.

40,000 people in Gaza make a living from the fishing industry, yet this community has been decimated by Israeli restrictions on fishing rights and the prevention of fuel from reaching the Gaza Strip.

According to the Fishing Syndicate in Gaza, fishermen need 40,000 litres of fuel and 40,000 litres of natural gas each day to operate throughout the high fishing season.

Starting in April each year, there is a migration of fish from the Nile Delta to Turkish waters which Palestinian fishermen have traditionally relied upon. Yet Israel limits fishing 6 miles from the Gaza shore and regularly attacks those who venture further than 3 miles - over 70 fishermen were arrested last year by the Israeli forces. The large schools that form the migration are usually found 10 miles from shore. The average catch of fish was over 3000 tons a year in the 1990's, now it is around 500 tons directly due to the Israeli siege of Gaza.

Not only this, but the brutal effects of the siege, the water in which the fishermen of Gaza sail in is now receiving 50 million litres of sewage per day because the people of Gaza have no alternative.

ENDS

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is a Palestinian-led non-violent resistance movement committed to ending Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian land. We call for full compliance with all relevant UN resolutions and international law.

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