Three major fires were fought by Israeli firefighters on Tuesday morning near the Gaza border, kindled by “terror kites” flown into Israel by Gazans.
Two large fires were reported near Kibbutz Nir Am, northeast of Gaza, with the third in the area of Moshav Netiv Ha’asara to the north of the Hamas-controlled zone. One of the fires was sighted just across the street from Sderot’s Sapir College, with another tearing through grazing lands.
Viral footage of flames inching toward Israel’s Highway 232 circulated on social media.
Hundreds of incendiary kites and helium balloons carrying flaming devices have been flown into Israel by Gazans since Hamas declared the “March of Return,” a propaganda effort aimed at rallying large crowds to attack the security fence with Israel in the hope of marching through to Jerusalem.
The fire adjacent to Highway 232 was put out, and the road, which was temporarily closed, was subsequently reopened.
According to the Nature and Parks Authority, approximately 7,000 acres of forestland have been burned, including a third of the Carmia Nature Reserve.
Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan recommended targeted assassinations against the kite-flyers and the Hamas commanders overseeing them.
“The fact that Hamas is the one enabling the shooting and the sending of the kites means we have to return to targeted assassinations, and the kite-launchers and Hamas commanders should be targeted for neutralization,” said Erdan during a tour of Sderot, which is often in the cross-hairs of Hamas rockets.
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu initiated a program by which Israeli farmers whose agricultural lands were destroyed by terrorists would be compensated with money Israel collects for the Palestinian Authority.
Agricultural damages alone are estimated at $1.4 million.