At approximately 1:30am on Friday, 25 September 2020, the Egyptian naval forces patrolling the Egypt-Gaza maritime border opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat that was carrying three fishers, all brothers from the Middle Gaza district, after the boat allegedly crossed into Egyptian territorial waters. Upon a request for information by officials in Gaza, the Egyptian authorities confirmed that Hassan Mohammed al-Zazou, 26, and Mahmoud, 20, were killed, while the third brother, Yasser, 18, was wounded and is currently receiving medical treatment in Egypt.
On Saturday evening, at around 7pm, the bodies of the two Palestinian fishers were returned to the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing.
Al Mezan regrets the tragic loss of life and demands an immediate investigation into the incident. The use of force this past weekend falls within a pattern of excessive and lethal force used against Palestinian fishers by the Egyptian navy in recent years. Al Mezan therefore calls on the Egyptian authorities to reassess the navy’s law enforcement rules and recalls that lethal force is to be used only as a last resort and when all other measures have been exhausted. The use of force must serve a warranted law enforcement purpose and follow the principles of necessity and proportionality.