TEL AVIV – Hundreds of turkeys in a kibbutz near the Gaza border on Sunday died from smoke inhalation as a result of fires sparked by so-called “terror balloons” flown from the coastal enclave.
At least 40 blazes were sparked on Saturday and Sunday from incendiary balloons, according to authorities.
The Tax Authority stated that more than NIS 5 million ($1.4 million) in damage has been caused by the fires since the beginning of April, destroying thousands of acres of farmland.
Israel also launched airstrikes Sunday evening on three targets including an operating tent from which people had flown attack kites laden with burning petrol and explosive devices over the border, setting alight large swaths of land.
The Israeli Air Force also hit a target said to belong to one of the leaders of what has come to be known as “kite terror.”
No one was injured in any of the strikes.
The attack kites have been decorated to include swastikas, the Palestinian flag, and warnings to Israel.
The IDF purchased hundreds of drones designed to intercept the kites. The UAVs, assembled on existing drones such as the Pegasus 120, were provided within days of the first “kite attack” by the Defense Ministry’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure.
However, for the most part Israel is combating the “kite terror” by responding as quickly as possible to fires before they spread.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan last week urged the IDF to shoot anyone flying the “terror kites” in the legs.
As the Times of Israel noted, the tactic of using attack balloons was not invented by Palestinians.
In World War II, Japan used “fire balloons” against the U.S. when it sent 9,000 enormous hydrogen-filled balloons into the Pacific where the air currents would take them toward American soil. Around 300 of the balloons reached the North American coast but did little harm — with one notable exception.
A bomb attached to a Japanese balloon exploded in Bly, Oregon, killing six people in the only World War II attack on the American mainland.