TEL AVIV – Three hundred “attack” kites have been flown from Gaza into Israel over the past month and a half, sparking some 100 fires and millions of shekels in damage to local farmers.
Since April 13, Gazans have been arming the kites, also known as “terror” kites, with incendiary devices and sending them over the border. So far no one has been injured in the resulting fires, but some 3,000 acres of wheat has been destroyed along with other damage to the farmland surrounding the border with the coastal enclave.
The last few days have seen the terror kite efforts intensified, with several dozen flown over the border during the weekend alone.
Farmers from the Gaza border communities made the decision to move up the harvest date to avoid more damage to the wheat 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 farmer told Ynet.
“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 said.
“The right thing is to collaborate with the firefighting forces, but without our efforts the damage would have been much more severe,” he added.
On a recent visit to the area, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon compared the attack kites with the missiles launched from Gaza that plagued the border communities for a decade and a half.
“Those who fly incendiary kites must be treated with the same severity as those who launch rockets into Israel,” Kahlon said.
In response to the kites, the army promised to “fight against terror above and below the ground,” according to a statement.
“The IDF considers the Hamas terror organization as solely responsible for what is happening in Gaza and outside of it,” the statement added.