Friday, March 5, 2010

Union: 3 Fishermen detained by Israeli navy

Gaza – Ma'an – Israeli navy guards detained three Gazan fishermen just off the shores of Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip on Friday, head of the local Fishermen's Union said.

Nizar Ayyash identified the three fishermen as Nafeth Al-Aqra, Muhammad Nabil and Muhammad Al-Aqra, all from the central Strip. He said they were taken, along with their fishing vessel, to an unknown destination.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was looking into the report.

On Wednesday, The Associated Press released a news report alleging fishermen, "cut off from plentiful fishing grounds by Israeli patrol boats — have turned to sneaking into Egyptian waters in tiny motorboats to buy their catch and bring it home," and even "bring[ing] in fish by land, in ice-packed plastic foam boxes pulled through smuggling tunnels from Egypt."

Israeli forces continue to enforce access restrictions on fishing areas beyond three nautical miles from the shore, a restriction enforced since January 2009, a UN report from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reminded in its first Feburary Protection of Civilians report.