The IDF is examining all options to halt the ongoing use of terror kites and balloons, including the legality of shooting those who launch them. Until now, the IDF has fired caution shots at gangs preparing kites and balloons with flammable material for use in attacks on Israel. Hadashot News said that the army was examining the legality of direct firing on the gangs.
Hamas has promised an increase in the number and range of aerial terror attacks beginning Friday. The terror group said that it would dispatch 5,000 kites and balloons at Israeli targets, filled with helium – a gas that was not used until now – to extend the range of the balloons. Attached to the balloons will be flammable material that Hamas hopes will ignite fires in Israeli forests, fields, and cities. IDF soldiers were on very high alert to prevent the entry of the balloons and kites into Israeli airspace.
Israeli officials said that the helium to be used in the balloons that is available in Gaza was allowed into the Strip for medical purposes. The IDF said that that use of helium meant for hospitals in terror attacks was another example of “the cynical use of resources meant for Gaza civilians for its terror attacks.” A report in the Jerusalem Post last week said that the kites in Gaza had been donated by the Japanese government for recreational uses by children in Gaza.
On Thursday, reports said that the IDF had closed access to a kibbutz in southern Israel after balloons filled with explosives were seen there. At least one of the balloons exploded, causing a fire in the kibbutz, which was quickly put out. So far, officials said, the fires caused by kites and balloons flown by Gaza terrorists has burned some 25,000 dunams of forest and farmland in southern Israel.
Commenting on the Hadashot News report, Likud MK Oren Hazan said that it was about time the IDF took more aggressive action against terrorists. “If instead of just firing warning shots to chase away terrorists they would actually shoot and eliminate the terrorists, there would be no more terrorists, and no more threats. Sooner or later we are going to have to deal with this terror issue, better earlier than later – before it is too late,” Hazan said.