In a first, an Israeli Air Force plane fired a warning shot on Saturday at a group of three Gazans launching an incendiary kite into Israel. No injuries were reported.
Incendiary kites ignited 45 fires on Friday and 17 fires on Saturday. Firefighters were able to contain all the fires. No injuries were reported but agricultural crops were destroyed. The kites are large and homemade, with long tails that have firebombs or Molotov cocktails attached. Recently, terrorists have taken to attaching helium balloons to the kites in order to keep them aloft longer, allowing them to set fires deep inside Israel.
The incident was part of the ongoing Hamas-led March of Return riots along the security fence that separates Gaza from Israel. Four Gazans were killed in clashes at the border Friday. Over 120 Gazans, many of them members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad military wings, have been killed in clashes with IDF since the March of Return, touted as a peaceful protest, began on March 30.
In addition, a number of explosive devices and a grenade have been hurled and tires have been set on fire at the riot locations next to the security fence pic.twitter.com/0Lqc7oJB8y
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) June 8, 2018
On Friday, the Gazan rioters used helium balloons to carry remote-controlled explosive devices into Israel. In addition, shots targeted an IDF post on the border. Hits were made on the IDF post but no injuries were reported.
On Saturday, a Gazan was intercepted after crossing the security fence into Israel. He was arrested.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said to the media on Monday that an estimated 600 balloons and kites have been sent over the border with some 400 of them intercepted by IDF. 200 landed inside Israel, igniting 198 fires. Approximately 4,300 acres, or nearly seven square miles, of land bordering Gaza have been burned in the past two months, more than half of them in nature reserves. The damage has been estimated at approximately $1.4 million.