Gazan terrorist cells launching incendiary kites over the border into Israel are legitimate military targets, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said Monday.
“Kites can be innocent and nice, but if we know that they may be used as a weapon of war, they become a legitimate military target,” Mandelblit said.
The Attorney General’s comments came after a report by the Kan public broadcaster claiming that a senior IDF officer had told lawmakers that army’s hands are tied by legal constraints in the battle against arson attacks launched from Gaza against communities in Israel’s south.
According to the report, OC Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Ofer Levi said the army should shoot Gazans launching incendiary kites and balloons over the border, but cannot do so due to legal constraints. The report quoted Knesset lawmakers as saying Levi had told members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee during a tour of the area last week that opening fire on persons launching incendiary kites toward Israel would significantly cut the number of attacks.
Over the past few weeks hundreds of kites and balloons have been launched toward Israel, setting thousands of acres of farmland on fire and causing millions of shekels worth of damage.
The lawmakers reportedly told Kan that Levi had hinted that the Military Advocate General was tying the army’s hands by not allowing it to open fire against the arson cells.
An IDF spokesperson said in response to the report that it “did not faithfully represent the IDF’s position” and that the IDF “would not discuss the content of internal operational discussions.”
Meanwhile, the IDF struck a Hamas position in the southern Gaza Strip Monday evening after a cell launched incendiary balloons into Israel from nearby the post. Earlier, Several Palestinians were wounded and one was killed during two attempts to attack security infrastructure along the border fence Monday.
Overnight, the IDF attacked nine Hamas terror targets in the northern Gaza Strip, in response to cross border arson attacks. The targets included two military compounds and a munitions manufacturing site belonging to Hamas.