Middle East

Gaza fishing boats say broke Israel naval blockade

Palestinians sail their boats as part of a convoy that was launched at the initiative of the "Intifada Youth Coalition" (IYC) to break the naval blockade of Gaza as a protest against the Israeli siege on December 2, 2013 at the port in Gaza city. The coalition said in a statement, the convoy will raise the slogan "Steadfastness of Fishermen and Questioning the International Justice". AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS

GAZA CITY: Around 20 Gaza fishing boats carrying several dozen activists on Monday claimed to have broken the naval blockade on the territory in a move denied by the Israeli military.

The "resistance flotilla" was at sea for several hours before returning with the claim it had "broken" the blockade which bars fishing vessels from sailing six nautical miles from the shoreline.

But a military spokesman denied the boats had passed the six-mile mark.

The boats had been aiming to put a new spin on attempts to break the Israeli blockade -- by sailing out of Gaza rather than trying to get in.

Israel first imposed its blockade on Gaza in 2006 when militants there snatched and Israeli soldier.

It was further tightened when Hamas seized control a year later but has since been eased following international pressure, although tight restrictions remain in place, including the fishing limit.





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