Israeli sailors accused of unlawfully killing Gaza fisherman

(JTA) — The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has released footage of what it said was the unlawful slaying of a Palestinian fishermen by Israeli troops last month.

The video, published Thursday on the online edition of the Haaretz daily and filmed May 15 off the coast of Gaza, shows a fishing boat with three men sailing fast while flanked by an Israeli Navy vessel. The fishing boat loses speed and one of the men signals to the Navy boat to stop.

The Navy boat approaches the fishing boat, where B’Tselem says one of the passengers was lying severely wounded from live rounds of ammunition fired by the Navy vessel during the chase. Mohammed Baqer, 25, was taken to an Israeli hospital, where he died shortly afterward, according to Haaretz.

B’Tselem in a statement wrote that the fishing boat had attempted to escape the Navy boat, but was within the 3-mile parameter around Gaza where fishing is allowed. The Gaza Strip, which is run by the Hamas terrorist group, is under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade.

The B’Tselem statement offers conflicting information on when the shots were fired, stating in one section that the fishermen “began escaping after the Navy vessel opened fire on them,” but that “the soldiers on the boat shouted for the fishermen to halt and fired in their direction.”

The Israel Defense Forces did not react to query on the incident by Haaretz, according to the paper.

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