The Israeli navy has arrested two Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, sources on both sides said on Friday.
“The occupation navy boarded a fishing boat off Nuseirat (in central Gaza), arrested the two fishermen and took them to an unknown destination,” a source in the Gaza Fishermen’s Syndicate told AFP.
A spokeswoman for the Israeli military said: “Two fishermen were outside the authorised fishing zone. They were detained for questioning in the night.”
Under the terms of a November truce with Hamas that ended eight days of deadly cross-border clashes, Israel agreed to ease its maritime blockade on Gaza to allow fishermen out to six nautical miles instead of the previous three.
But the navy has several times temporarily restored the stricter fishing limit in retaliation for rocket fire into Israel from Gaza.
According to the latest report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there are some 3,500 registered fishermen in Gaza.
The number is sharply down from the 10,000 registered in September 2000, when the second Palestinian uprising erupted prompting Israel to restrict access to Mediterranean fishing grounds.