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Israel restores Gaza fishing zone to 6 nautical miles off coast


17:50, May 21, 2013

GAZA, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Israel on Tuesday lifted the limit on the Gaza Strip's fishing zone and restored it from three to six nautical miles off the coast, the Israeli army said.

A statement of the Israeli army said that senior Palestinian and Egyptian officials have been informed of the restoration of the fishing zone, which was reduced in retaliation against Gaza militant activities against Israel.

According to the statement, the earlier restriction of the fishing zone in March was a response to the rockets that Palestinian militants shot out from Gaza after a ceasefire that ended eight days of cross-border fighting in November.

Nezar Ayyash, a member of the Palestinian fishermen syndicate, welcomed the Israeli decision as "a step in the right direction," further calling for a lift of all the Israeli restrictions on the Palestinian fishermen.

The Gaza fishing zone was originally up to 20 nautical miles off the coast, according to the 1993 Oslo peace accords. When the second Palestinian uprising erupted in 2000, Israel began applying gradual reduction on the fishing zone.

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