Israel has expanded the area where Gaza Strip residents are allowed to fish to 15 nautical miles, Nizar Ayyash, the head of the Palestinian Union of Fishermen, told Sputnik on Wednesday.
“The occupational authorities informed us through the Civil Affairs Committee about expanding the Gaza Strip fishing zone to 15 nautical miles, effective this morning,” Ayyash said.
The manipulation of Gaza’s fishing zone is largely seen as a tool for Israel to punish the Palestinian enclave for disruptive behavior, such as border riots or the launching of explosive balloons.
During the 11-day armed conflict in May, Israel placed the Gaza Strip under a blockade and closed the fishing zone entirely.
Previously, Israel announced that the permitted fishing zone had been cut in half off the coast of Gaza.
The Gaza Strip has a population of two million and has been controlled by Hamas for more than a decade.
The opening of the sea to fishermen from the Gaza Strip or its closure remains subject to the level of tension between the two sides.
On July 12, Israel announced the expansion of the fishing zone off Gaza and the entry of more imports into the Palestinian territories in light of the “recently prevailing security calm”.
Before the May conflict, this fishing area had a ‘area of 15 nautical miles (approximately 28 km).—AP