Israeli military aircraft opened fire on a group of Gazans attempting to launch flammable balloons from northern Israel into Israeli civilian areas on Friday. Reports from the area indicated that two people were lightly injured.

Terror balloons and kites have led to hundreds of instances of arson along the Gaza border area of Israel, causing millions of shekels in damage to agricultural, nature preserves and other lands, as well as to wildlife.

The Israel Defense Forces’ effort to thwart the terror act came just hours prior to the expected convergence of thousands of protesters rioting as part of the Hamas-run “March of Return,” which urges Palestinians to fight to reach all areas of Israel, including Jerusalem.

The riots began on March 30. These protests have been marked by the use of Molotov cocktails, rock-throwing, tire-burning, attempts to cut and breach the security fence, and in some instances, even the use of live fire.

Last Friday, approximately 5,000 Palestinians rioted on the border.

On Thursday, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman ordered the Erez pedestrian crossing closed following Palestinian vandalism of infrastructure there.