Israel eases Gaza restrictions with expanded fishing zone

AP News
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Posted: Apr 03, 2016 11:33 AM

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Fishermen in Gaza can now sail farther from the coastal territory after Israel expanded the fishing zone on Sunday.

COGAT, the Israeli defense body that handles civilian issues with the Palestinians, announced the new easing of restrictions on its Arabic Facebook page. About 60 boats raced to the new zone after police blew a whistle Sunday afternoon.

To prevent squabbling over fishing rights, Hamas — the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza — ordered that whoever reaches a new spot first can claim fishing rights in the area.

Israel set a limit in 2007 after Hamas seized Gaza from forces loyal to Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in bloody street battles.

The new maritime perimeter expands the fishing zone off parts of Gaza by three more nautical miles to nine.