IDF reduces Gaza fishing zone after rocket from Palestinian Islamic Jihad

According to IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis, Palestinian Islamic Jihad was behind the rocket fire from the northern Gaza Strip that went into the sea.

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April 30, 2019 19:15
2 minute read.
FISHING BOATS on the coast of Gaza.

FISHING BOATS on the coast of Gaza.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The IDF will reduce the fishing zone around the Gaza Strip to six nautical miles on Tuesday following the launch of a missile by Palestinian Islamic Jihad on Monday night, the military announced.

According to IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) launched the rocket from the al-Attra neighborhood of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza Strip into the Mediterranean sea.

“It was intentionally fired by the group,” Manelis said, adding that the PIJ operative who gave the order for the launch is Baha’a Abu al-Ata, the PIJ commander of the northern Strip.

According to Manelis, al-Ata received his orders directly from the group’s leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah in Damascus.

PIJ, the military said, is trying to carry out low-level attacks and maintain a low profile so that Hamas doesn’t figure out that they are trying to undermine ceasefire efforts between the ruling group in the coastal enclave and Israel.

“There are dozens of countries around the world which are trying to improve the humanitarian situation in the Strip but and at the same time there is one man inside Gaza and one man outside the Strip which is trying to torpedo that,” he said.

A tense calm has been holding in the South for the past month after Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire deal mediated by Egypt and the UN. According to reports, part of the deal was the expansion of the fishing zone to a range not seen since the Second Intifada of between 22 km. to 28 km.

On a call with reporters, Manelis noted that the rocket launch came shortly before a potentially tense month, with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Nakba Day, Israel’s Memorial Day and Independence Day, and the one year anniversary of the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem.

Manelis also noted that the IDF is also preparing for violence ahead of Eurovision, which will take place in Tel Aviv in May with thousands of tourists expected to visit.

Due to a fear of escalation in the south over the coming weeks, Israel’s military deployed several Iron Dome missile defense batteries across the country.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the second largest group in the Gaza Strip after Hamas, has been assessed by military intelligence as a factor increasing the risk of an escalation in the blockaded coastal enclave, since it is not under the direct control of Hamas and acts independently for its own interests.


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