Be'eri Forest fire

Incendiary kite from Gaza causes massive fire in Be'eri Forest

After Gazan rioters send incendiary kite across border into Israel, firefighters battle to contain Be'eri Forest blaze intensified by high temperatures, strong winds and dry weather, as masses of woodland is slowly incinerated.

An incendiary kite flown Wednesday from the Gaza Strip by Palestinian terrorists caused a huge fire in the Be'eri Forest in southern Israel that continued to rage into the evening. No casualties were reported.



The conflagration is the biggest to have erupted since Palestinians in the strip began flying the incendiary kites across the border.


By 7:30pm, the fire continued to slowly reduce hundreds of dunams of woodland to ash, as ten firefighter teams scrambled to contain the it, battling high temperatures, dry weather and strong easterly winds that fanned the flames.


Be'eri Forest fire

Be'eri Forest fire


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Incendiary kites are the latest improvised weapon to have been added to the Palestinian rioters' arsenal as part of the weekly "March of Return" protests on the Gaza Border, enabling Palestinian rioters to wreak havoc on Israel's southern towns without approaching the border fence and risking their lives. 


Around three to four of the kites are sent across the Gaza-Israel border each day, and have so far incinerated agricultural lands in Israel's southern region, with wheat fields being set aflame and ecological damage caused to the country. 


Gadi Yarkoni, head of the Eshkol Regional Council, where most of the incendiary kites tend to fall, called on the Israeli government to find a solution to the issue and urged it to compensate local farmers for the damage already caused.


"The issue of (incendiary) kites has preoccupied us very much in recent days and requires an answer," he said. "There is damage to the wheat and barley fields (in the area). The security personnel and the farmers in the settlements are working overtime to extinguish the fires and not to let them spread and cause more damage.


"It will not break us and we will continue to work our lands up to the last meter," he stressed, adding that the locals "expect the state to compensate us for the damages. Our fields are the livelihood and the beating heart of the Eshkol Regional Council."


Be'eri Forest fire
Be'eri Forest fire


Head of Merhavim Regional Council Shai Hajaj and Head of Sdot Negev Regional Council Tamir Idan expressed their exasperation over the government's lackadaisical handling of the pressing issue, adding that the High Court of Justice's seemingly out of touch deliberations on the Gaza border protest are only preventing the issue from being resolved.


"While the court in Jerusalem (meaning the High Court of Justice) is discussing a petition by left-wing organizations to tie the hands of the soldiers facing the Gazan rioters who want to break through the fence, the arson of the farmers' fields continues," they said in a joint statement.


"It is not redundant to remind Palestinian rights organizations and judges that stone throwing and burning of fields also constitutes violence," they added. "Violence that has already caused, and still causes, severe economic damage but also threatens human life.


"The burning of fields by Palestinian rioters is no longer limited to the weekly Friday demonstrations, but has become a daily occurrence. We demand an end to this violence."


An incendiary kite (Photo: AP)
An incendiary kite (Photo: AP)


"The burning of fields by Palestinian rioters is no longer limited to the weekly Friday demonstrations, but has become a daily occurrence. We demand an end to this violence."


Since the offensive began some five weeks ago, hundreds of incendiary kites have been sent to Israel, setting ablaze about 800 dunams of agricultural fields and causing property damages worth an estimated half a million shekels.


"We do not really have the ability to cope with this," lamented Reuven Nir, the field crops manager for the kibbutzim of Kfar Aza and Mefelsim in the Gaza vicinity.


"We stay alert and as soon as we see a kite landing in a field, we rush to the place to stop the fire before it spreads to more and more areas," he said. "We have experience here in the Gaza vicinity. We went through everything. Rockets, tunnels, military operations, demonstrations, and what not. But this phenomenon is intolerable."


פרסום ראשון: 05.02.18, 19:53
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