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Israel returns 25 fishing boats to Gaza

Nov. 29, 2018 5:39 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 1, 2018 5:05 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israel returned 25 fishing boats to the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture in the besieged Gaza Strip, belonging to Palestinian fishermen, on Thursday.

The 25 boats were previously confiscated, on different times, by the Israeli naval forces.

Head of the Palestinian Fishermen Union in Gaza, Nizar Ayyash, said that the ministry received 16 small boats and 9 other boats.

Ayyash added that Israel still holds 33 boats that were previously confiscated off the coast of the Gaza Strip.

As part of Israel's blockade of the coastal enclave since 2007, the Israeli army, citing security concerns, requires Palestinian fishermen to work within a limited "designated fishing zone," the exact limits of which are decided by the Israeli authorities and have historically fluctuated.

The Israeli army regularly detains and opens fire on unarmed Palestinian fishermen, shepherds, and farmers along the border areas if they approach the unilaterally declared buffer zone.

Israeli human rights group B'Tselem recently concluded that Israel's Gaza closure and "harassment of fishermen" have been "destroying Gaza's fishing sector," with 95 percent of fishermen living below the poverty line.
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