Middle East

Israel cuts Gaza fishing zone after new fire balloons

Palestinian fishing boats prepare to attempt to sail for Europe, carrying people including students and medical patients unable to leave through overland crossings, as a protest against the blockade of Gaza, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel has cut the fishing zone it allows off Gaza, an official said Thursday, in the third such response in a fortnight to Palestinian incendiary balloons.

The Israeli official told AFP on condition of anonymity that as of Wednesday the fishing limit for Gaza fishermen had been reduced from a maximum of 15 nautical miles to 10.

A spokesperson for the Israeli fire service said incendiary balloons from Gaza caused three blazes on Tuesday.

It was only on Tuesday that Israel restored the limit to 15 miles after a previous reduction in response to fire balloons last week.

It imposed a similar cut on May 23.

In the past year, Palestinians have succeeded in setting fire to large areas of farmland in southern Israel.

The limit of up to 15 nautical miles set ahead of Israel's April general election is the largest allowed in years.

But human rights activists note that it still falls short of the 20 nautical miles agreed under the Oslo accords of the 1990s.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.

 

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