Kite terror continues to strike Gaza border communities
Incendiary kites being flown from Gaza continue causing severe damage estimated at hundreds of thousands of shekels; IDF assures Gaza border communities' residents that a solution will be found soon; Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon assures farmers compensation for the damage.
Since Tuesday afternoon several incendiary kites were flown from Gaza into wheat fields across the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council causing wild fires to spread. The main fire broke next to Kibbutz Nahal Oz.
Severe damage was caused to Nahal Oz's fields , and the blaze was put out only two hours later.
In addition, numerous fires also broke out in adjacent kibbutzim. No casualties were reported in any of the fires.
Residents of the Gaza border communities were instructed not to touch the inflammable kites flown from Gaza since they may contain explosives, and to call the community's security coordinator.
Following the recent spate of such incidents, the IDF announced that a solution to the problem plaguing Israel's southern region will soon be found.
Yesh Atid's MK Haim Jelin said that, "Flying an incendiary kite into Israel is equal to launching a Qassam rocket into it. Those who do not understand that, don't understand the implications."
"When the Israeli public started to grow accustomed to the Qassam rockets launched at Gaza border communities, the media stopped covering it. These days, when we are forced to deal with wild fires caused by incendiary kites on a daily basis, the media coverage is again starting to fade away," Jelin added.
"When the fire is 50 meters away from a community and could easily spread, we cannot ignore under any circumstances the kite terror and allow it to be our routine," he went on to say.
Several incendiary helium balloons were also flown from Gaza on Monday, causing fires across seven fields throughout the Gaza border communities.
One of the fires broke out in a wheat field next to Kibbutz Mefalsim in the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council, causing severe damage.
Another incendiary balloon caused a fire in the Be'eri forest. No casualties were reported.
Farmers say the blazes consumed the fields just before the harvest that was supposed to take place in the coming days and financial damage is estimated at hundreds of thousands of shekels.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon announced Sunday during his visit to Gaza border communities that farmers who had been victims of kite terror will be compensated, and assured them the defense establishment will know how to address this new threat.
Kahlon also stated that those who fly the incendiary kites must be treated with the same severity as those who launch rockets into Israel, echoing his party member's sentiment.
The success of kite terrorism has provided Palestinians with the incentive to create a new method—flying incendiary helium balloons that explode in the air, causing the burning object attached to them to fall into Israel's territory.
The new helium balloons method—first tried out last week—seems to be simpler than the original method.
While the western wind that usually blows in this area easily flies the balloons from Gaza to Israel, the balloons explode relatively high in mid-air, meaning burning objects have to keep burning until reaching the ground—something that does not always happen.