Israel Reduces Gaza Fishing Zone 'Until Further Notice' After Firebombs Launched

Military announces move days after expanding zone as 'part of the civilian policy to prevent a humanitarian deterioration in the Gaza Strip'

File photo: Palestinian fishermen pull their net off the port in Gaza City, May 23, 2019.
Mohammed Abed/AFP

Israel has reduced the fishing zone off the Gaza Strip to 10 nautical miles (18.5 km) from the shore "until further notice," the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories said Wednesday, days after announcing its expansion.

The recent decision was taken due to incendiary balloons that had been launched from Gaza toward Israel in recent days, the statement said.

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On Saturday night, the Israeli military said it would expand the fishing zone from 10 to 15 miles, in a move it said was "part of the civilian policy to prevent a humanitarian deterioration in the Gaza Strip."

Saturday's statement added that the step was taken "as part of a policy differentiating between terrorism and the uninvolved population," and that any deviation from the zone "will be handled appropriately by the security forces."

The fishing zone was limited to 10 miles last week after incendiary balloons launched from Gaza sparked fires in Israel. In early May, a violent escalation led to the fishing zone being closed and then reopened with a limit of 12 nautical miles.