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June 16, 2018 2:50 pm

Incendiary Kites Launched From Gaza Spark 20 Fires in Southern Israel

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Smoke rises from Israeli agricultural fields near the Gaza Strip border after being set on fire by an incendiary kite released by Palestinians on May 14, 2018. Photo: Flash90.

Twenty fires were set off in southern Israel by incendiary kites launched from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on Saturday.

According to the Hebrew news site Walla, two fires broke out in the afternoon near the kibbutzim Be’eri, Kissufim, and Nir Am. Firefighters responded and brought the fires under control. Shortly after, new fires were sparked near Kibbutz Erez and the southern town of Sderot. The fires destroyed over 240 acres of land in the area.

Israel responded to the fires by sending a drone to strike an area where the kites had been released from in southern Gaza.

On Friday, the Israeli Air Force retaliated against a similar set of attacks by firing at a group that was releasing the kites. The IAF destroyed a Hamas watchtower and also intercepted a balloon carrying explosives.

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The Palestinian media had previously reported that Gazans were prepared to send 5,000 incendiary kites into Israel.

The kite attacks are part of a general wave of violence in recent months precipitated by the so-called “Great March of Return” that saw thousands of Palestinians attempt to storm the border fence. There have been no casualties from the kites, but thousands of acres of farmland and nature preserves have been destroyed, causing millions of shekels in damage.

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