Israeli forces detain 8 fishermen off Gaza coast 12Sep11 September 12, 2011

Ma’an News Agency  -  11 September 2011

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Sunday detained eight fishermen off the coast of Gaza City, locals told Ma’an.

Locals said Israeli naval boats surrounded a fishing boat belonging to the Baker family near As-Sudanyeh, north of Gaza City and detained eight people on board.

Those detained were identified as Hassan Khader Baker, his sons Khader, Jafar and Muhammad and their relatives Allam, Suheil and Muhammad.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the fishermen deviated from the fishing area and failed to respond to Israeli naval orders to turn around.

She said the fishermen were detained and taken for security questioning.

The sea off Gaza has been mostly off limits since June 2006 when Israel imposed a tight blockade on the territory after militants there captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who is still being held.

The blockade was tightened a year later when Hamas seized control of the territory, ousting forces loyal to the Western-backed Palestinian Authority.

Israeli military ships patrol Gaza’s Mediterranean shore, enforcing a unilaterally-imposed 3-mile fishing limit and blockade on the strip.

The last negotiated fishing limit for Gaza was 20 nautical miles, agreed on during the Oslo accords in the early 1990s.

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