Israel releases 4 Gaza fishermen ‘detained at sea’

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Maan News Agency | Jan 8, 2012

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli forces released four Palestinian fishermen on Sunday morning, after they were detained overnight off the coast of the Gaza Strip, the head of the fishing community said.

The men were seized along with their boat near Rafah in southern Gaza at 3.30 a.m., president of the Palestinian association for fishing and marine sports Mahfouth al-Kbarity told Ma’an.

While the fishermen were released, Israel kept their boat and fishing equipment in custody, he added.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was not familiar with the incident.

In early December, the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights said Israel has detained 40 fishermen, injured five others and seized nine boats since the start of 2011.

Under Israel’s maritime blockade, Palestinian fishers are forbidden from fishing more than three nautical miles from the coast.

During the Oslo accords negotiators had agreed on 20 nautical miles of fishing access along Gaza’s coastline.

Noting that most Gaza residents were dependent on food aid, the International Red Cross said in July that Gaza’s fishing industry had almost disappeared due to Israeli restrictions.

Source and more at the Maan News Agency

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