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Egypt military court jails 5 Palestinians

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Palestinians surround buses crossing the Rafah border during a brief opening on September 18, 2013, as they protest against the "indefinite" closing by Egyptian authorities of the crossing.AFP

An Egyptian military court on Wednesday sentenced five Palestinian fishermen to one year each in jail for illegally entering Egyptian territorial waters, an army source told AFP.

The Palestinians were arrested when they crossed into Egyptian waters near the border town of Rafah, the source said, adding that the verdict was delivered by a military court in the Suez canal town of Ismailiya.

On August 30 Egypt's navy arrested five Palestinian fishermen, but it was unclear whether those sentenced on Wednesday were the same.

The verdict comes at a time when relations between Egypt and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas have sharply deteriorated since the military ouster on July 3 of president Mohamed Morsi.

Last week Egyptian naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza Strip's southern coast and arrested two, according to Hamas which rules the Palestinian enclave.

In a separate case, the military court in Ismailiya sentenced five Egyptian fishermen to one month in jail for fishing in the Suez canal during unauthorised hours, the army source said.