Published — Sunday 25 November 2012
Last update 25 November 2012 6:44 am
GAZA CITY: Tens of thousands of children are returning to school in the Gaza Strip after eight days of Israeli aggression against Palestinian group Hamas.
Israel carried out about 1,500 airstrikes against Hamas-linked targets in Gaza, while fighters fired about as many rockets into Israel.
The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights said that 166 Palestinians were killed, including 33 children and minors under 18. Rockets from Gaza killed six Israelis. The group says most of more than 1,000 wounded Gazans were civilians.
Gaza’s schools reopened yesterday. Adnan Abu Hassna, spokesman for a UN aid agency, says tens of thousands of students at 245 UN-run schools spent the first day talking about their experiences during the fighting.
Israel eased restrictions on Gaza fishermen yesterday, further implementing a three-day-old truce, Palestinian officials said.
A statement from the office of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Egypt had notified them that “Israel has allowed Palestinian fishermen to fish in Gaza’s waters at a distance of six miles, up from three miles.”
Israel had formally barred Gaza fishermen from heading more than three miles out into the Mediterranean Sea for about three years, its gunboats often enforcing the rule.
Murad Al-Issi, a member of a local fishermens’ group, told Reuters his colleagues had already ventured out to the six-mile limit yesterday.
“The Israeli Army naval boat which used to fire and torch Palestinian boats that sailed beyond a three-mile distance watched without doing anything to prevent them,” Issi said.
Palestinians say the Israeli restrictions had hampered the amount and variety of fish they could catch.
“This is a good step,” Issi said, adding it would be best to be permitted double the distance. Palestinian farmers tended land along the testy frontier with the Jewish state without incident, a day after Israeli troops killed a Palestinian man at a border fence.
Yesterday, a Reuters photographer saw farmers in the Khan Younis area working close to the Israeli frontier fence.
Hamas security officials were on patrol and Israeli soldiers looked on without interfering, but for a brief verbal exchange between one soldier and a Hamas guard, witnesses said.
Israel had barred Palestinians from coming within 300 meters of the border since 2009.