Israeli forces have opened fire at fishermen off the coast of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, in an apparent violation of the ceasefire agreement reached in Cairo last week, according to fishermen.Palestinian fishermen told Ma’an News Agency that Israeli warships fired at their boats with machine guns, while they were sailing within the agreed-upon six-nautical-mile limit, near Rafah. No injuries were reported.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said fishermen ‘deviated from the designated fishing zone,’ and that ‘warning shots’ were fired into the air.
Asked how far the fishermen were sailing from shore, the spokeswoman claimed she did not know the exact distance, but that it was further than six nautical miles.
Prior to the recent agreement, Israel maintained a limit of three nautical miles off shore for Gaza fishermen, and opened fire at any who strayed further, despite earlier agreements which had actually settled on a 20-mile limit.
The restrictions crippled Gaza’s fishing industry and impoverished those dependent upon it.
The ceasefire agreement reached on Aug. 26 stipulated that Israel would immediately expand the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast to six nautical miles, and would continue to expand over time.
According to the deal, they would be allowed to sail out as far as nine nautical miles, a week from the ceasefire date, and as far as twelve, a month from then.
Under the terms of the deal, Israel also reportedly agreed to ease the ongoing siege on the region.
However, according to Israeli media, PM Benjamin Netanyahu does not even intend to send a delegation for negotiations in Cairo, as stipulated by the recent ceasefire agreement.