Facing flaming kite threat, IDF could shoot Gazans who fly them – report

Army mulls ways to counter airborne Molotov cocktails from the Strip, including using drones to shoot them down

Strip's border with Israel, April 20, 2018. Activists use kites with firebombs and burning rags dangling from their tails to set ablaze drying wheat fields on the Israeli side. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

The Israeli military is considering dramatically escalating its responses to firebomb-bearing kites from Gaza that have set a large number of blazes around Israeli towns, including, reportedly, shooting those who launch them.

The tactic, in which a Molotov cocktail is attached to a kite and sent flying over the border into Israel, caused its largest blaze yet on Wednesday, with one fire consuming dozens of acres of grasslands and agricultural fields and burning for six hours near Kibbutz Be’eri despite the best efforts of ten firefighting teams.

For the past several weeks, Gazans have been regularly flying kites outfitted with containers of burning fuel, often including charcoal and bags of sugar to ensure a long, slow burn. The tactic was introduced as part of the “March of Return” demonstrations at the border fence, which began on March 30 and are due to continue through mid-May.

The mass protests are being encouraged by the terror group Hamas, which rules Gaza, and whose leaders say their goal is the erase the border and “liberate Palestine.”

Smoke and flames rise from grassland Kibbutz Be’eri in southern Israel after Palestinians flew a kite laden with a Molotov cocktail over the border on May 2, 2018. (Screen capture/Rafi Bavian)

With the number of kite attacks now reaching as many as 15 per day, military planners have begun to consider new measures to end the practice, including options drawn from the IDF’s responses to rocket launches and other terror attacks....

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