Israel opens fire on Gaza fishermen

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A Palestinian fisherman rides a boat near the port of Gaza City on 22 March 2013. (Photo: AFP - Mohammed Abed)

Published Saturday, March 23, 2013

Israeli forces opened fire on fishermen off Gaza's coast Saturday, two days after the Jewish state announced that it limited Palestinian sea travel in a move widely regarded as collective punishment.

Israel's army announced Thursday that the fishing zone for Palestinians in Gaza would be reduced from six to three miles following a rocket attack launched earlier this week by a marginal Salafi group.

Fishermen in Gaza told Ma'an News Agency that Israel's navy opened fire at them on Saturday to prevent them from going out further than three miles.

Mahfouth Kabariti, head of a federation for fishermen and water sports, confirmed that the Israeli navy had set up new signs defining the permitted fishing zone.

The zone had been extended to six miles as part of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that ended Israel’s eight-day assault on Gaza in November that killed 177 Palestinians and six Israelis.

Hamas complained to Egypt on Friday after Israel suspended part of a Cairo-brokered truce agreement. An Egyptian official confirmed that the Hamas complaint had been received, saying Israel had complained separately about the rocket attack.

The official said Cairo would contact both sides to "restore their commitment to the truce."

Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis, a hardline Salafi faction with a small presence in Gaza and the neighboring Egyptian Sinai claimed responsibility for the salvo on Sderot.



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