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Hamas: Egypt arrests 2 Gaza fishermen

Sept. 15, 2013 9:56 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 16, 2013 6:49 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (AFP) -- Egyptian naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza Strip's southern coast and arrested two of them, the Hamas movement said.

Hamas "condemns the fire from Egyptian gunboats toward Palestinians within Palestinian waters, and the arrest of some of them," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement.

A local security source said Egyptian navy forces opened fire at two fishermen in waters off the southern Gaza city Rafah and arrested them, noting there were no injuries in the incident.

On Sunday, Israeli gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off Gaza's coast, witnesses said. Fishermen were forced to return to the shore following the incident, with no injuries reported.

This was the second time in recent weeks that Egyptian forces have opened fire at Gaza fishermen and made arrests. On August 30 two Palestinian fishermen were wounded and five others arrested by Egyptian navy forces, according to Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007.

Saturday's incident took place amid growing tensions between Hamas and Egypt.

On August 31, Egypt's foreign ministry accused Hamas of raiding an Egyptian cultural center in Gaza and detaining several Egyptians.

And on Thursday, two Egyptian army tanks crossed an initial border fence leading to Gaza for the first time.

Relations between Egypt and the Islamist movement have sharply deteriorated since the military-led ouster on July 3 of president Mohamed Morsi.

The deposed Islamist leader is now in detention, accused of colluding with Hamas in staging prison breaks and killing policemen during the 2011 uprising that overthrew former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt's army has since the July coup destroyed many of the tunnels Brotherhood ally Hamas uses to bring supplies into the semi-blockaded Strip.

Egypt closed its Rafah border crossing with Gaza on August 19 after a deadly attack nearby that killed 24 policeman, and now opens the crossing for a few hours a day for "humanitarian" purposes only.
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