3 Palestinian fishermen held off Gaza Strip coast

Last Updated: Wed, Jun 05, 2019 23:47 hrs

[Palestine], May 12 (ANI): Three Palestinian fishermen were detained by Israeli naval forces off the coast of Gaza Strip on Saturday, a local official said.

Israeli gunboats opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats when they were sighted west of Gaza city and detained the three fishermen, Anadolu News Agency quoted the head of Gaza's fishermen union, Nizar Ayyash, as saying.

The Israeli military has not released a statement on why the fishermen were detained.

Around 50,000 people in Gaza are engaged in fishing, which is their bread and butter for them amid the simmering crisis between Palestine and Israel.

On Friday, Israeli authorities allowed Gaza fishermen to resume fishing at a designated zone off the Gaza coast after it was suspended for a week following military escalations between Israel and Gaza-based resistance groups.

Officials said that the fishing zone would be expanded to a maximum of 12 nautical miles after a ceasefire agreement was reached with the Hamas militant group.

Reportedly, Egypt and Qatar have mediated this truce. The deal was reached after Hamas agreed to ease the limits on the fishing zone off the coast of Gaza.

This comes as a major relief as both sides were recently engaged in rocket and missile firings which have killed 24 Palestinians and four Israeli officers so far.

The Israeli military claimed that Gaza ruled by Hamas and jihadi elements has fired around 600 rockets and other projectiles in southern Israeli cities, adding that, in retaliation, it targetted more than 250 targets belonging to Gaza militants.

Amid the escalating tensions, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been indicating to launch attacks on Gaza while doing his electioneering, had said that he ordered the military to continue "massive strikes" against Gaza. (ANI)