Israeli plane fires warning shots into Gaza following attempted 'kite attack'

Israeli plane fires warning shots into Gaza following attempted 'kite attack'
Israeli army have fired warning shots into Gaza as protesters seek alternate - and safer ways - to demonstrate.
2 min read
09 June, 2018
The kites are the latest protest tactic in Gaza [Getty]
Warning shots were fired by an Israeli aircraft on Saturday towards a group of Gazans preparing to fly balloons fitted with a small incendiary over the border, the army claimed in the first such case.

In a statement, the Israeli military said it had "spotted a group of Palestinians preparing balloons equipped with explosive devices to cause fires and serious damage on Israeli territory",

"In response, an Israeli aircraft fired a warning shot near the group," it said, without elaborating.

It comes as an Israeli minister warned that kite flyers in Gaza could be shot dead near the border.

The military claimed this is the first use of aircraft opening fire to deter Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip from launching fire kites and balloons over the border into southern Israel.

The kites have become a potent symbol of a wave of Palestinian protests that broke out on March 30 against Israel's crippling decade-long blockade of Gaza.

No one has been hurt by the fires, but some 2,250 acres of fields and nature reserves have been burned by flames stoked by Mediterranean winds, causing $2.5 million in damage, Israel’s government has claimed.

The kites are the latest protest tactic, allowing Gazan protesters to inflict some economic losses on Israel, while remaining far enough from the border to avoid being shot by Israeli forces.

Over 129 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since protests began eleven weeks ago, the majority of which were killed near the border as troops use lethal force to prevent any infiltration attempts.

The Israeli army has been launching drones to damage or cut down the kites.

According to Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, of the more than 600 kites launched from Gaza so far, around 400 kites have been intercepted.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has meanwhile said Israeli snipers should shoot the kite flyers.

"I expect the IDF (Iraeli army) to handle these kite-flyers exactly as they would any terrorist, and the IDF’s targeted assassinations must also apply to these kite-flyers."