Israel further reduces Gaza fishing zone after fire balloons

Jerusalem (AFP) –


Israel reduced the fishing zone it allows off Gaza for the second time in a week, an official said Tuesday, following a spate of attacks by Palestinians using balloons to spark fires.

A spokeswoman for COGAT, the Israeli defence ministry unit that oversees such regulations, said Gazans would be allowed to fish up to six nautical miles offshore "until further notice."

On Wednesday, the permitted fishing zone had been taken down from a maximum of 15 nautical miles to 10.

A spokesman for the Israeli fire service said incendiary balloons from Gaza caused seven fires just on Tuesday.

On June 4, Israel had restored the limit to 15 miles after a previous reduction in response to fire balloons the previous week.

It imposed a similar cut on May 23.

In the past year, Palestinians have succeeded in setting fire to large areas of farmland in southern Israel.

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, run by Islamist movement Hamas, have fought three wars since 2008.