Last updated: 30 August, 2013

Hamas says Egyptian navy wounds two Palestinian fishermen

Two Palestinian fishermen were wounded and five others arrested on Friday by the Egyptian navy off the coast of the Gaza Strip, Hamas said, condemning the act as “unjustified.”

“Some Egyptian navy ships fired in the direction of Palestinian fishing boats near the Egyptian border off the coast of Rafah at dawn on Friday,” the Islamist movement’s press agency reported.

“Two fishermen were wounded and five others arrested,” said Hamas, which has controlled the Palestinian territory since 2007.

They were both taken to the hospital in Rafah, medical sources said, adding that their lives were not in danger.

Hamas described the incident as an “unjustified act,” and called for those “detained to be freed.”

Egypt did not immediately confirm the incident, which took place amid growing tensions with Hamas.

Gazan fishing boats often venture into Egyptian waters to compensate for the restriction caused by a maritime blockade imposed by Israel on the coastal strip.

But the practice has been less and less tolerated, since former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, whose Muslim Brotherhood is close to Hamas, was ousted in a military coup on July 3.

Under the terms of the current Israeli restrictions, Gaza fishermen are not allowed to enter waters more than six nautical miles (11 kilometres) from the shore, and complain that the area is insufficent to support the needs of Gaza’s population.