March 7, 2015 / 1:11 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Israel fires at Gaza boats, kills Palestinian fisherman - hospital officials

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GAZA, March 7 (Reuters) - The Israeli navy opened fire on boats off the coast of the Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing one Palestinian fisherman, Gaza hospital officials said.

Citing security concerns, Israel keeps a naval blockade on Gaza, which is ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement, and has designated a six nautical-mile fishing zone off the enclave’s coast.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said four vessels had strayed from the fishing zone and that the Israeli army opened fire after the boats did not heed calls to halt.

Hamas and other Gaza militant groups fought a 50-day war with Israel last July and August in which more than 2,100 Palestinians, many of them civilians, were killed. On the Israeli side 67 soldiers and six civilians were killed.

Gaza hospital officials named the fisherman killed on Saturday as Tawfiq Abu Reyala, 34.

The Palestinians say the fishing zone is not big enough to supply the demands of Gaza’s 1.8 million people, who are kept under a tight Israeli-Egyptian blockade. (Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Maayan Lubell; Editing by Pravin Char and Stephen Powell)

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