Israel Eases Gaza Restrictions With Expanded Fishing Zone

YERUSHALAYIM (AP) -
Palestinian fishermen are seen off the coast in the port of Gaza City on March 25, 2008. The start of the fishing season starts off with the owners of boats without fuel due to the embargo by Israel. Without fuel, the boats remain beached or moored adding to a food shortage. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib /Flash90 *** Local Caption *** ??? ????? ??? ???? ?????? ?? ??????? ???????? ????????? ??????? ???????? ???????? ????????? ??????? ???????? ??????? ???????? ??????? ???????? ???????? ????????? ???????? ????????? ???????? ????????? ???????? ??????? ???????? ??????? ????????? ????????
Palestinian fishermen are seen off the coast in the port of Gaza City. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Israel has expanded the fishing zone off the Gaza coast to allow Palestinian fishermen to sail out further.

COGAT, the Israeli defense body that handles civilian issues with the Palestinians, announced the new limits Thursday, saying they would stay in effect for the coming two months to coincide with the fishing season. The new maritime perimeter expands the fishing zone off parts of Gaza by three more nautical miles to nine.

Israel set a limit in 2007 after Hamas seized Gaza from forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas in bloody street battles. It has since extended the zone several times.

Israel noted the measure is contingent on the fishermen respecting the agreement and not abusing it with smuggling or infiltration attempts.