Israel closes Gaza fishing zone due to fire balloons

Israel closed the fishing zone off the coast of Gaza in retaliation for the launch of incendiary balloons from the Palestinian enclave of Gaza Strip. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 13 June 2019

Israel closes Gaza fishing zone due to fire balloons

  • Spokesman for Israeli fire service said incendiary balloons from Gaza caused seven fires
  • Israel had only restored the fishing limit to 15 miles on June 4

GAZA: The Israeli government said late Wednesday that the fishing zone off the coast of Gaza had been closed, in retaliation for the launch of incendiary balloons from the Palestinian enclave.
"Due to the continuous launching of incendiary balloons and kites from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, it has been decided tonight (Wednesday) not to allow access to Gaza's maritime space until further notice," a spokesperson for COGAT, a unit of Israel's defence ministry, said in a statement.
The move came after COGAT said on Tuesday it had reduced the extent of the fishing zone to six nautical miles offshore from 10 nautical miles, having downscaled it from 15 nautical miles a week ago.
A spokesman for the Israeli fire service said incendiary balloons from Gaza caused seven fires just on Tuesday.
In the past year, Palestinians have succeeded in setting fire to large areas of farmland in southern Israel.
Israel had only restored the fishing limit to 15 miles on June 4, after a previous reduction in response to fire balloons.
Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, run by Hamas, have fought three wars since 2008.


Israel's Netanyahu says gives up his turn to try to form new government

Updated 20 min 15 sec ago

Israel's Netanyahu says gives up his turn to try to form new government

JERUSALEM: Israel’s president says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ended his quest to form a new coalition — a step that pushes the country into new political uncertainty.
Netanyahu fell short of securing a 61-seat parliamentary majority in last month’s national election. But President Reuven Rivlin gave Netanyahu the first opportunity to form a government because he had more support, 55 seats, than any other candidate.
Netanyahu had hoped to form a broad “unity” government with his chief rival, former military chief Benny Gantz. But late Monday, Netanyahu announced he came up short.
Rivlin says he will now give Gantz a chance to form a government, though Gantz does not appear to have enough support either.
If Gantz fails, Israel could hold its third election in less than one year.