IDF strikes group of Palestinians launching flaming balloons into Israel
ABED ABU RYASH / AFP
Israeli Defense Forces on Thursday said that they fired two missiles targeting group of Palestinians launching flaming balloons into Israel from the northern Gaza Strip.
It was the second time in less than 24 hours.
There has been a surge in what Israel calls “kite terrorism” in recent months in which Gazans have resorted to flying kites or launching balloons that have molotov cocktails, firebombs, or similar low-tech incendiary devices attached to them.
Also on Thursday, Israeli police bomb disposal unit responded to a balloon that landed in a residential garden in Israel’s southern city of Sderot.
Police units at the scene say they closed off the area and are “dealing with the balloon with a device attached to it,” the army said in a statement.
“Police call upon the public to contact police immediately whenever a suspicious device is spotted and not to approach it in anyway,” the statement added.
The launching of arson balloons and fire kites from Gaza into Israel have caused the Israeli army to target positions where they are launched from, due to the damage they are doing to fields adjacent to the Gaza border.
Israel has pointed to Islamist group Hamas as being behind the arson operation.
Though the incendiary kites and balloons have caused thousands of dollars in damages, their launch rate has been relatively low and sporadic.
At least 134 Palestinians have been killed in clashes since mass protests broke out along the Gaza border on March 30, approximately 50 claimed by Hamas as members. No Israelis have been killed.
Israel accuses Hamas of using the protests as an excuse to carry out attacks on Israel and has responded with both lethal and non-lethal force.
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