news

In response to fires, Israel strikes car of one of Gaza ‘kite terrorism’ ringleaders

“The IDF is determined to counter the Palestinians’ ‎acts of terror,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement. “Hamas will be held accountable for ‎anything that transpires in the Gaza Strip.”

Smoke rises from Israeli agricultural fields near the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip, after being set on fire by a flaming kite flown over by Palestinians as they protest by the border fence on May 14, 2018. Photo by Flash90.
Smoke rises from Israeli agricultural fields near the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip, after being set on fire by a flaming kite flown over by Palestinians as they protest by the border fence on May 14, 2018. Photo by Flash90.

Palestinian kite terrorism continued to ‎‎rage over the weekend as 30 fires erupted in Israeli ‎‎communities near the Israel-Gaza border after ‎dozens of airborne incendiary devices, launched from Gaza, crashed in Israeli territory.

Hundreds of firefighters and volunteers, assisted by ‎firefighting aircraft, battled the blazes, which ‎were fueled by the heavy heat and strong wind ‎conditions. Several roads in the area were ‎temporarily blocked as fires threatened them as ‎well. ‎

On Sunday, an Israeli aircraft struck the vehicle of one of the ‎ringleaders of the kite-terrorism campaign. ‎No one was wounded in the strike in the ‎Shujaiyya neighborhood in Gaza, but it marked an escalation in Israel’s response to such weaponry.

One of the balloons launched over the border on Saturday ‎was found to be carrying explosives. Police sappers ‎neutralized the device safely. ‎

In response, the Israel Defense Forces struck a terrorist cell gearing ‎up to launch additional explosive kites over the ‎border, as well as a Hamas observation post in ‎northern Gaza. ‎

On Friday, the military fired warning shots at ‎terrorist cells trying to send incendiary kites and ‎balloons over the Israeli border. ‎

The Palestinians reported that two men were wounded ‎in an IDF strike on a kite cell in the al-Bureij ‎refugee camp in central Gaza.‎

‎“The IDF is determined to counter the Palestinians’ ‎acts of terror,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement, adding that regardless of which terrorist organization instigates the attacks, “Hamas will be held accountable for ‎anything that transpires in the Gaza Strip.”

Military officials warned last week that if ‎the Palestinian kite ‎terrorism continues, the ‎IDF will launch ‎surgical strikes to eliminate these ‎terrorist cells, which is a policy currently used ‎against cells that ‎fire rockets at Israel. ‎

However, senior IDF officers expressed concern that ‎surgical strikes against kite terrorist cells could set off a rapid security escalation that could lead ‎to another round of fighting in Gaza.‎ ‎

The IDF is mostly employing drone technology to ‎combat kite terrorism, but local residents say the drones are ineffective in alleviating the damage caused by the ‎fires.

Authorities say that more than 7,500 acres of forest and ‎‎‎agricultural ‎land on ‎the Israeli side of the border ‎‎‎have been reduced ‎to ash since the Palestinians ‎‎‎launched the “kite campaign” in late April, causing ‎‎‎tens of millions of ‎shekels in ‎damage and affecting ‎‎‎‎every community in the area. ‎

The Israel Nature ‎and Parks Authority ‎says the impact on ‎local flora and fauna has been devastating, as local habitats have lost more than ‎‎3,500 acres to fires, ‎including one-third of the Carmia Nature Reserve, a part of the Be’eri Forest and ‎all of the Nir Am Nature Reserve.‎

INPA official Uri Naveh said the environmental damage ‎caused to the area was nothing short of ‎catastrophic. ‎

‎“The Western Negev area is the natural habitat for ‎rare species of plants and many species of reptiles, ‎which have sustained catastrophic damage that will take ‎decades to repair,” said Naveh. ‎“Moreover, if the fires are a recurring event, the ‎habitat may change completely. Nature knows how to ‎deal with a large fire every 10 years or so, but if it ‎happens every year or in short intervals, without ‎the habitat having time to recover, it changes so dramatically that it becomes something else.”

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war. JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you. The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support? Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates