Egyptian naval police shot and wounded two Palestinian fishermen and detained five off the Gaza Strip on Friday, medics said, an incident that indicated increased tension between Hamas and Cairo.
Fishermen from Gaza have often brought in catch from Egyptian territory to sidestep restrictions imposed by Israel’s naval blockade of the enclave. But Egypt has grown less tolerant of this practice since Islamist president Mohammed Morsi was toppled by the military almost two months ago.
The group of seven fishermen were sailing west of the southern Gaza border town of Rafah towards Egyptian waters when the forces opened fire on them, Gaza hospital officials said. Egyptian authorities had no immediate comment.
The wounded pair avoided arrest and were only lightly hurt, hospital officials in Gaza said.
Gaza fishermen say that the limited fishing zone imposed by Israel is not big enough to meet the demands in the enclave and have often brought fish back from Egypt, either by boat or through smuggling tunnels.
Since Morsi’s ousting, Egyptian authorities have warned Gaza fishermen against entering Egyptian territorial waters.
It could not be confirmed whether the fishermen shot at on Friday were attempting to cross into Egyptian waters.