Gaza Fishing Range Increased Again

Palestinian protesters on the Israel-Gaza border on May 15. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

The IDF on Motzoei Shabbos once again increased the range Gaza fishing vessels could ply to 15 nautical miles off the coast. The range had been reduced to 10 nautical miles on Thursday in response to Gaza terror balloon attacks that took place Wednesday.

The increase in the fishing vessel range was announced by the IDF’s coordinator of government activities in the territories, Kamil Abu Rukun. He did not explain why the range was increased after numerous balloon terror attacks Friday, which caused several fires to break out in the Gaza border area. In a statement, Rukun said that the increase in the fishing range “is part of our policy to prevent a humanitarian crisis among the civilian population, as we separate between civilians who are not involved in the dispute and terrorist forces.”

Israel had agreed to increase the range fishing vessels could ply to 15 nautical miles as part of the understandings negotiated by U.N. and Egyptian mediators that led to the end of Gaza rocket attacks against southern Israel several weeks ago. The range for fishing vessels had been reduced to as little as six miles. Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired some 700 rockets at southern Israel during those attacks. Part of those understandings entailed an end to incendiary balloon attacks.

Channel 12 reported this week that among the other commitments by Hamas were a reduction in the number of people at the weekly riots at the Gaza border, and keeping rioters 300 meters away from the fence. Besides increasing the fishing range to 15 nautical miles, Israel committed to allowing Qatari money into Gaza without interference, and to discuss improving infrastructure.

Overnight Motzoei Shabbos, security officials said they arrested five wanted security suspects in other areas in Yehudah and Shomron. The suspects were wanted for participating in rioting and throwing stones and firebombs that endangered Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. Several of the suspects were also charged with belonging to Hamas. All were being questioned on their activities by security forces.

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