Israel restores Gaza fishing limit and aid imports

Country restricted fishing zone for four days over the launching of incendiary balloons

Israel has restored the fishing zone off Gaza and will allow resumed imports for international aid projects.

The fishing zone off Gaza's coast was restricted for four days by Israel in response to the launching of incendiary balloons from Palestinian territory.

The fishing zone and imports are routinely used by Israel to punish or reward Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas for the security situation.

“In light of the security situation … the Gaza Strip fishing zone will be extended from Friday from six to 12 nautical miles,” the Israeli military body responsible for civil affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories, Cogat, said.

“From Sunday, the importation of equipment and goods for projects of the international community in Gaza will be allowed,” it added.

Cogat said it would allow food, water, medicine, fishing goods, electrical supplies and agricultural products donated by the international community into Gaza from Sunday.

Israeli authorities will also permit the export of scrap metal from Gaza to Israel.

“These new measures are conditional on the continuation of the stable security situation in the region.”

Gaza's fishing zone was cut in half last Sunday by Israel in response to several fires in border areas caused by incendiary balloons launched from Gaza. Israel also carried out two air strikes, Palestinian sources said.

A fragile truce has largely held since 11 days of deadly conflict between Israel and Hamas in May.

The conflict saw Israel and Hamas exchange deadly rocket fire, killing 260 Palestinians and 13 people in Israel.

Israel, which has imposed a blockade on Gaza for more than a decade, had set the fishing zone for the coastal enclave at 20 nautical miles following the Oslo peace accords in the 1990s.

Over the years Israel has reduced its size depending on tensions with Hamas.

Updated: July 30th 2021, 8:59 AM