Thursday, April 24, 2014

Israeli tanks enter Gaza border area, navy fires at fishermen

Published yesterday (updated) 24/04/2014 19:17

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Six Israeli military tanks on Thursday entered a border area in the southern Gaza Strip, witnesses said.

The tanks crossed into Gaza in an area called al-Qarara, north of Khan Younis, and leveled agricultural fields before leaving.

Three helicopters were seen hovering at a low altitude during the incursion.

Meanwhile, Israel's navy opened fire at fishermen off the coast of northern Gaza, locals said.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said a "Palestinian vessel deviated from the designated fishing zone. Naval forces called at them to stop and fired warning shots in the air. Once it failed to comply, naval forces approached the vessel and the fishermen were taken for questioning."

Local activists named the fishermen as Hamdi Sultan and Muhammad Zayid.

In the Oslo Accords, Israel agreed to a 20-nautical-mile fishing zone off Gaza's coast but it imposed a 3-mile limit for several years, opening fire at fishermen who strayed further.

Israel has controlled Gaza waters since its occupation of the area in 1967, and has kept several warships stationed off the coast since 2008.