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Photo: Herzel Yosef
Yassin Abu Sidra
Photo: Herzel Yosef
The unsung hero of the fight against Gaza arson terrorism
Yassin Abu Sidra, the KKL's lookout, stands at the top of an 18-meters-high tower on the Gaza border, scanning the area from dawn till dusk in search of fires caused by incendiary balloons and kites. It's his job to send firefighters to the scene and prevent the flames from spreading.

Yassin Abu Sidra, 24, stands at the top of an 18-meters-high tower on the border of the Gaza Strip, near Kibbutz Be'eri, and scans the area from morning till nightfall looking for fires.

 

 

Since the Palestinians began flying incendiary balloons and kites into Israel some seven months ago, this has been his mission.

 

Abu Sidra, a lookout for Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL), is the first to spot the incendiary balloons and kites and helps preventing the fire from spreading by sending firefighting forces to the scene.

 

Yassin Abu Sidra (Photo: Herzel Yosef)
Yassin Abu Sidra (Photo: Herzel Yosef)
 

This job requires him to constantly be on alert. In recent months, he hasn't had a moment's rest. From the top of the observation tower he can see the Be'eri Forest, the Kissufim Forest, the Shokeda Forest and the farmland of the Israeli communities by the border.

 

He has already spotted hundreds of incendiary balloons and kites and directed firefighting forces to where they landed.

 

"There were days of 30-40 fires a day," Abu Sidra says. "The firefighting forces ran from one scene to the next, rushing to get there to prevent the spread of the fire."

 

Yassin Abu Sidra (Photo: Herzel Yosef)
Yassin Abu Sidra (Photo: Herzel Yosef)
 

 

"As soon as a fire breaks out from an incendiary balloon, it's a race against time. Every second counts. If they don't get there on time, the fires grow, the work is harder, and of course the damage is graver," he explains.

 

Abu Sidra, a resident of Rahat, married his beloved three weeks ago. It was the first time since the arson terrorism began that he allowed himself to take a week off—and returned to his post immediately afterwards.

 

Fire near Kibbutz Or HaNer caused by incendiary balloon from Gaza (Photo: Assaf Gvaram)
Fire near Kibbutz Or HaNer caused by incendiary balloon from Gaza (Photo: Assaf Gvaram)

 

He can't afford to look away for even a moment. Every now and again, he quickly makes himself a cup of tea or coffee, but even that he does from the top of the tower while barely looking away.

 

KKL officials say there's no lookout who knows the Gaza border area from above like Abu Sidra does.

 

"Recently, I've seen a significant drop in the number of fires," Abu Sidra says. "But there are still at least 2-3 fires a day. I hope it stops. It pains me to see the woodland burning like this. I wish it could be better, and then I wouldn't have to report to the forces about more and more fires. Meanwhile I'm here, watching all the time, but also enjoying the view."

 


פרסום ראשון: 11.06.18, 14:05
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