Israel destroys Gaza boats and lives
Eva Bartlett, The Electronic Intifada, 7 September 2009
|All that remains of Omar and Khaled al-Habil's fishing trawler. (Eva Bartlett)|
"It's destroyed, completely destroyed," says al-Habil.
"They had left early in the morning and headed north," al-Habil said, of the crew of five fishermen that morning, including his son Adham al-Habil. He says the boat was well within a three-mile limit set by Israel.
"There were other fishing boats with them. The boat was about a kilometer out off Gaza's coast, and was at the southern end of Sudaniya (a coastal region of Beit Lahiya, in northern Gaza)."
An Israeli navy spokesperson reportedly said the boat "violated security boundaries off the coast of the Gaza Strip" and was "out of the permitted fishing zone." She said the boats failed to respond to warning shots.
Khaled al-Habil recalls differently.
"An Israeli navy boat approached them and opened fire. It was chaos. The firing was intense; it lasted 15 or 20 minutes. The fishing boat stopped, but the Israelis kept shooting. Finally, the Israelis shot a mortar at the boat. All the fishermen jumped into the water."
His son Adham al-Habil sustained burns from the fire, which broke out most likely as a result of the mortar shelling.