Israel reopens Gaza fishing zone after Hamas says truce in new phase

Israel reopened the Gaza Strip’s fishing zone on Tuesday, Gaza’s fishermen’s association said, in another sign of progress in a truce agreement between Hamas and Israel.

Israel had entirely closed Gaza’s maritime space recently due to the continuous launching of incendiary balloons and kites from Gaza towards Israel, which caused fires in the country’s south.

Gaza’s fishermen’s association confirmed that the zone had been opened to a maximum of 22 kilometres.

However, there was no immediate confirmation from the Israeli side.

In May, Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations brokered a truce between Israel and Hamas which put an end to the worst outbreak of violence involving the two sides since 2014.

The agreement reportedly includes the transfer of Qatari aid to Gaza and the expansion of its fishing zone.

On Sunday, Israel allowed the transfer of Qatari funds.

On Monday, Hamas said that “Gaza is witnessing the implementation of a new phase of the understandings to break the siege with a larger package of measures.’’

According to Hamas, the new phase should lead to an easing of the Israeli blockade and other steps to improve living conditions in Gaza.

The radical Islamist movement, which has ruled in Gaza since 2007, had recently accused Israel of delaying the implementation of truce-related measures and threatened a new escalation of violence.

Israel and Egypt have for over a decade imposed a blockade on Gaza, which they say is for security reasons.

Hamas is classified by the European Union, Israel and the U.S. as a terrorist organisation.

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