Although IDF has been fighting flaming kites with drones developed to intercept them, this ‘aerial terror offensive’ keeps disrupting Gaza border communities’ daily routine, causing farmers millions of shekels worth of damage.
Matan Tzuri|Published: 05.27.18 , 12:00
On April 13, a new era of combat commenced as part of the ongoing conflict between Israel and residents of the Gaza Strip’. Several incendiary kites flown into Israel, under the auspices of the violent riots on the Gaza border fence, caused a fire in the kibbutz of Nahal Oz.

Since then, the “aerial terror offensive” against the Gaza border communities has continued with greater vigor, including some 300 incendiary kites flown into Israel’s territory, 100 fires and more than 3,000 acres of wheat destroyed, causing millions of shekels worth of damage to the farmers of the area.

The Eshkol and Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Councils’ communities and farmlands under attack include Kissufim and Be’eri forests, Kibbutzim Nir Oz, Kerem Shalom, Sufa, Kfar Aza, Sa’ad, Mefalsim, Erez, and Gevim.

The modus operandi has been the same in all the incidents causing fires: During the Gaza border riots, terrorists attached Molotov cocktails and other incendiary objects to kites and flew them into Israel.

Hundreds of drones were developed and purchased within several days by the IDF to aid intercept the incendiary kites.

The Defense Ministry’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure (Maf’at) managed to provide within several days new operational solutions assembled on existing drones and on those which are being currently developed by the “Aeronautics” security industry, such as the “Pegasus 120.”

“Pegasus 120” can carry up to 75 Kg, and was tested for the purpose of carrying cargo supplies, ammunition and fuel to forces maneuvering deep inside the enemy’s territory as part of the Northern Command’s military exercise last year.

Nevertheless, it seems the incendiary kites phenomenon is growing stronger. Last Wednesday, several kites flown into Israel caused serious fires across the Gaza border communities.

Drone intercepting incendiary kites

The Gaza border communities’ farmers are dealing on a daily basis with putting out fires instead of taking care of their harvest. Recently, they decided to hold the harvest earlier than planned so the wheat wouldn’t be destroyed by fires caused by the kites.

“We are frustrated with the situation, it has become real terror. We are coping with this phenomenon on a daily basis,” one of the farmers said.

“When a fire breaks out, we don’t wait for the firefighting forces and use our own equipment (to put out the fire) otherwise the wheat would be completely destroyed and entire fields would disappear,” he explained.

“The right thing is to collaborate with the firefighting forces, but without our efforts the damage would have been much more severe,” he added.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon visited the western Negev communities two weeks ago and said, “Those who fly incendiary kites must be treated with the same severity as those who launch rockets into Israel.”

Kahlon was accompanied by a property tax representative during his visit and promised that farmers would be compensated for the damages caused to their wheat fields.

In addition, the region authorities’ heads have sent messages demanding the government to compensate them for their damaged “down to last shekel.”

They have also asked for the matter to be among IDF’s top priorities.

The fight against the relatively new threat consists of both offensive and defensive actions by the IDF including aerial attack of Hamas’s posts as retaliation to launching incendiary kites into Israel.

The IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit said after one of the retaliatory attacks, “The IDF will continue to fight against terror above and below the ground.

“The IDF considers the Hamas terror organization as solely responsible for what is happening in Gaza and outside of it,” the statement added.,7340,L-5272011,00.html
A green nature reserve charred by incendiary kites from Gaza – YNET

Footage recorded by a drone shows huge landmass of Be’eri Crater Reserve—a once blooming landscape that served as natural habitat for wildlife—blackened as terrorists in Gaza fly flaming kites into Israel; ‘To think that animals have been burned breaks one’s heart.’
Matan Tzuri|Published: 05.28.18
The Be’eri Crater Reserve adjacent to the Gaza border is considered to be among the most picturesque tourist sites in the region, with its green landscape serving as a natural habitat for a variety of species of animals.

During the winter, the nature reserve was covered by a blanket of multiple shades of green, interspersed with red roses in what was a symbolic testament to the success of making a desert bloom.

In recent weeks, however, the greenery has been replaced by a blackened and charred landmass caused by incendiary kites flown over by Palestinian rioters from the Gaza Strip, whose latest weapon in their arsenal is wreaking havoc on southern residents and farmers.

On Sunday alone, 200 more dunams were incinerated by the kites which are affixed with Molotov Cocktails.

Since the kites were first used in April as part of what Gazans describe as the “March of Return” protests, the “aerial terror offensive” against the Israeli border communities has continued with greater vigor, including some 300 incendiary kites flown into Israel’s territory, causing 100 fires and decimating more than 3,000 acres of wheatfields.

In addition, millions of shekels worth of damage has been caused to the farmers of the area.

With the new primitive but effective tactic employed by Gaza’s residents, Israeli firefighting services and security forces from surrounding communities are called to the area at least three times a week to extinguish the blazes intended to ravage southern agriculture.

In a video obtained by Ynet, the scorched remains of the once-blooming Be’eri Crater greenland—70% of which has been consumed by the flames—can be seen more clearly from a birds-eye view.

Experts believe that the blazes have taken a significant toll on wildlife in the area, which could once hide between the grooves and rocks in the expanses, but have no refuge from the flames sweeping through.

Indeed, estimates say that thousands of lives of animals have been claimed, among them reptiles and turtles, which either burned to death or were suffocated.

“It is clear to us that that time do its work, the rain will return and the blooming with be renewed,” an optimistic Rafi Babiyan said, a security officer from the Sdot Negev Regional Council.

“At the same time, to see the reserve burnt to such an extent, and to think that animals have been burned breaks one’s heart,” he added.

“The crater lies between Kibbutz Alumim and Kibbutz Be’eri and all the residents are working to save it every time a fire breaks out. Residents from all the communities join the effort to stop fires from spreading, but the damage has already been done,” he continued.

In light of the recent spate of incendiary “Kite Terror” attacks from Gaza plaguing their fields, Israeli farmers from the region announced Sunday that they intend to sue the Hamas leadership for war crimes at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.,7340,L-5272786,00.html