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Egyptian coast guards detain 2 Gaza fishermen

March 22, 2010 3:07 P.M. (Updated: March 22, 2010 5:27 P.M.)
Gaza – Ma'an – Egyptian coast guards detained two Gaza fishermen on Sunday evening on charges of entering Egyptian territorial water, officials said.

The fishermen told Egyptian authorities they had unknowingly entered the country's territorial waters. Police identified them as Ahmad Sa'id An-Najjar, 17, and Basim Abed Rabbo, 36.

On Saturday, coast guards detained three Palestinian fishermen also held on charges of illegally entering the country's territorial waters.

The fishermen claimed they were having engine trouble and were dragged along by the current, Ma'an's Egypt correspondent reported.

The incident was not the first of its kind. Egyptian authorities have sentenced fishermen who were detained in similar circumstances to one year of probation and a fine of 1,000 Egyptian pounds (150 US dollars) before returning them to the Gaza Strip.

Sunday's detentions are the fifth since the beginning of 2010, with Egyptian authorities returning Palestinian fishermen to the Gaza Strip following legal proceedings.

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