Israeli, Egyptian forces round up Palestinian fishermen near Rafah border
The Israeli navy and Egyptian forces arrested six Palestinian fishermen on Tuesday off the coast of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.
After surrounding three fishing boats, the Israeli navy seized two of the boats and two men, while Egyptian authorities seized the third boat and arrested the Palestinians on board, local sources told The New Arab’s sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
The fishermen were close to Egyptian waters. The Rafah border crossing is the only one between Gaza and Egypt.
Tribal sources from the region told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the incident occurred at around noon on Tuesday as Palestinians tried fishing in the border area.
They added that warning shots were fired towards the fishermen to surrender.
It is not clear if they were later released or are still in detention.
Israel imposes strict restrictions on the work of fishermen off the Mediterranean coast, claiming to combat smuggling attempts by sea as part of its blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007.
It has repeatedly shot at and arrested Palestinian fishermen.
Fishing is one of the biggest industries in the coastal enclave, home to some 2.3 million people.
Israel maintains a land, air, and sea blockade of Gaza, effectively besieging the Palestinian territory. Boats are not allowed to stray beyond a fixed limit to the north towards Israel and Egypt keeps similar limitations to the south-west.
In July 2018, Israel restricted the Gaza fishing space to 3 nautical miles, or 5.6 km.