Four Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli gunboats off the Gaza coast as Tel Aviv faces more criticism over its blockade of the impoverished coastal sliver.
The bodies of four men were washed up to the shore near the Gaza Strip city of Zahraa on early Monday, an official at Gaza’s Ministry of Health told a Press TV correspondent.
The bodies, delivered to Deir al-Balah hospital morgue, reportedly belonged to Palestinian fishermen who were targeted by Israeli naval patrols.
The Israeli army confirmed the attack, claiming the men came under Israeli fire when they were spotted wearing diving suits.
Last week, Israel launched a deadly offensive on an aid convoy heading for the besieged Gaza Strip, killing at least 9 people and wounding 40 others.
The attack sparked an outrage across the world and drew sharp criticism from the international community against Israel’s use of violent force against pro-Palestinian activists onboard the six-ship fleet.
The lethal attack was followed by calls from the international community demanding Israel lift severe movement restrictions it has imposed on the Palestinian territory for years.
Among the voices raised in protest was that of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who said the fatalities would not have happened if Israel had not continued the siege on Gaza.