(June 3, 2018 / JNS) Severe damage to an Israeli nature reserve on Saturday is being blamed on “terror kites” affixed with incendiaries and flown by Palestinians across the Gaza border with the intent of starting fires inside Israel.
Israeli firefighters and aircraft battled three large fires and several smaller ones on Saturday. In some cases, residents teamed up with firefighters to help contain the blazes.
By the time the various flames were brought under control, some 500 to 740 acres of fields and nature reserve had been burned. Kibbutz Be’eri, Kibbutz Nir Am, Kissiufim and Ein Hashlosha were some of the recent targets. Officials at the Israel Nature and Parks Authority estimated that at least one-third of the Carmia nature reserve has been destroyed with significant harm to local plants and wildlife.
Arson attacks have been a nearly daily occurrence since the beginning of Hamas’s “March of Return” campaign, in which terrorists have attempted to attack and breach the Gaza-Israel border fence, harm Israeli soldiers and set fires inside Israel under the pretense of marching en masse to take Jerusalem.
Hundreds of arson kites outfitted with Molotov cocktails and fuel have been flown into Israel since the Hamas-led strategy was initiated, setting more than 270 fires and burning 6,200 acres of land.
According to an interview in Hadashot news, one Israeli military official said an IDF strategy involving drones has brought down 500-plus kites before they could cause damage.
Some residents have expressed fear that they would not be compensated by the state for their losses—to the tune of tens of millions of shekels—because of the difficulty in proving that the fires were caused by terrorism.