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Israel reduces Gaza's fishing zone amidst escalation

Published : 25 Feb 2020, 00:28

  DF-Xinhua Report

Palestinian fishermen go fishing on their boat at a seaport in Gaza, Feb. 5, 2020. File Photo Xinhua.

An Israeli official said Monday that the country would close its only crossing for people with the Gaza Strip and reduce Palestinian enclave's allowed fishing zone following fire exchange near the Gaza-Israel fence.

   Kamil Abu Rukon, Israel's chief coordinator of the government's activities in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, said in a statement that the permitted fishing zone off Gaza will be reduced to six nautical miles, or some 11 kilometers.

   He said the punitive measure followed barrages of dozens of rockets fired by militants in Gaza towards Israel's southern communities.

   The Erez Crossing, the only land passage for people between the besieged enclave and Israel and the West Bank, "will be closed immediately until further notice," Abu Rukon said.

   The announcement came shortly after the Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian armed group, announced a ceasefire, days after it fired retaliatory rockets at southern Israel in response to the killing of Islamic Jihad operatives by Israeli fire in Gaza and Syria.

   Last week, Israel said it would expand Gaza's permitted fishing zone back to 15 nautical miles, or some 28 kilometers, about two weeks after reducing it following rockets from Gaza.