Israeli Aircraft Fires Warning Shots at Gazans Preparing to Launch Airborne Firebombs

Israeli attack comes after seven fires broke out near Gaza-border communities as blazing balloons hit Israeli territory

Firefighters trying to put out fires caused by flaming balloons launched at Israel from Gaza on June 23, 2018.
JNF

An Israeli aircraft struck in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday afternoon, firing at a group of Palestinians who tried to launch incendiary balloons into Israel, the miltiary said in a statement.

The attack came after seven fires broke out near Israeli communities bordering the Strip as a result of blazing balloons from Gaza landing in Israeli territory.

The Jewish National Fund said that two of the fires started near the southern kibbutz of Be'eri and another near the Negev community of Kissufim. Firefighters managed to contain three of the fires. Another on is still raging in the Be'eri Crater Reserve.

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The Israeli military admitted earlier this week that it did not assess properly the influence of the incendiary kites being launched at Israel from Gaza and the damages they wreak on Gaza-border communities.

However, the army and especially its southern command have decided not to take out perpetrators of the so-called 'kite terror attacks' out of fear that local Gazans who are not involved in the hostilities would be hurt, causing further escalation in the violence on the border.

A balloon attached with flammable materials flies toward Israel, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on June 17, 2018.
SAID KHATIB/AFP

On Thursday, the military attacked a kite-launching infrastructure in the southern Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported in the arrack. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who is a member of the security cabinet, said that those launching burning kites should be shot regardless of their age: "they're terrorists and the danger they create must be prevented."

Some 15 fires broke out in Israeli areas near the Gaza border earlierb in the day, with firefighters battling blazes in Be'eri Forest and the communities of Kissufim, Nahal Oz, Ein Hashlosha and Urim.