Israeli authorities have reduced the permitted fishing zone off the coast of the besieged Gaza Strip “until further notice,” less than a week after lifting a ban on Palestinian fishing boats operating off the coastal enclave.
The head of the Fishermen Committees in the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Zakaria Bakr, told Palestinian Ma’an news agency on Thursday that the fishing zone had been reduced from 12 nautical miles to only five nautical miles.
Bakr added that Israeli naval forces prevented Palestinian fishermen from retrieving their fishing nets, which they had cast seven nautical miles off Gaza’s coast.
The Palestinian official noted that Israeli forces opened heavy fire at the fishermen who sought to cross the five nautical miles, forcing them to sail back to the shore for fear of their lives.
The development came less than a week after Israeli officials lifted a ban on Palestinian fishing boats operating off the Gaza Strip, ending a measure imposed during a deadly flare-up of violence earlier this month.
The fishing union in the Gaza Strip confirmed the lifting of the ban, saying Palestinians were allowed fishing up to 12 nautical miles in the southern half of Gaza, while the fishing zone was six nautical miles in the north.