JERUSALEM, Israel – Palestinian jihadists in the Gaza Strip set more than 40 fires over the weekend using incendiary kites carrying explosives and burning fuel.
This latest “technique,” which began with the “Great March of Return” launched two months ago, has continued almost daily since then. The “terror kites” have started more than 350 fires that have burned up 7,000+ acres of agricultural land, groves and nature reserves and caused tens of millions of shekels in damage.
Firefighting crews battled blazes along the border with Gaza throughout the weekend, including massive fires in the Shokeda and Simchoni forests. The Israeli Nature and Parks Authority said fire destroyed a third – 75 acres of the 275-acre – Karmiya nature reserve. It took most of the day to bring the massive blaze under control, even with the help of firefighting aircraft.
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered funds to be withheld from taxes transferred to the Palestinian Authority. Those funds will be used to compensate farmers and communities that have suffered losses from the fires.
Netanyahu instructed National Security Council head Meir Ben Shabbat to come up with the figures to reimburse those who’ve been directly hurt by the fires.
Meanwhile on Monday, IDF forces fired at two Palestinians trying to breach the security fence; one, armed with an ax, was killed and the second, who was wounded, fled back into Gaza.
Over the weekend, terrorists managed to infiltrate into Israel on three separate occasions. One terror cell set fire to construction equipment before fleeing back across the border to Gaza. The IDF later said the shipping containers they set on fire belonged to contractors working on the security fence.
The IDF is trying various ways to combat the incendiary kites, employing some techniques used to combat rocket attacks. Drones have had some success destroying the incendiary kites.
Last Tuesday, Palestinians marked the Naksa (Arabic for “setback”), when Jerusalem came back under Israeli sovereignty during the 1967 Six-Day War. They recently observed the Nakba, the “catastrophe,” on May 14, marking the establishment of the modern State of Israel.
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel will find a way to end this latest assault as it has with rocket attacks and terror tunnels. “We’ll deal with the kites too, Bennett told Israel Radio. It’s just a matter of time.