JERUSALEM: Israel’s navy detained a group of Gaza fishermen on Wednesday, saying they had gone beyond a recently expanded fishing zone off the Israeli-blockaded Palestinian enclave.
Fishermen on two boats were detained and taken to Israel’s Mediterranean port of Ashdod for questioning, an Israeli military spokeswoman said. The Hamas-run Interior Ministry in Gaza said nine men had been seized and at least one vessel sunk.
Eight days of Israeli air strikes on Gaza and cross-border Palestinian rocket attacks ended in an Egyptian-brokered truce agreement a week ago that called on Israel to ease restrictions on the territory.
Israel has since doubled to six miles (10 km) the distance it permits Gaza fishermen to operate off the coast. It also has allowed Gaza farmers to tend land next to a border fence, in a “no-go” area where they had been barred for years.
Israel says its naval blockade is aimed at preventing the smuggling of weapons to militants in the Gaza Strip, which has been run by Hamas Islamists since 2007.