High heat and strong winds spread flames from fires caused by Gaza terror kites and balloons throughout the day on Shabbos. Firefighters were kept busy battling more than 20 major blazes in the Gaza border area, marking Shabbos as the worst day for fires caused by the Hamas terror tactic.
Hamas had promised to dispatch 5,000 balloons filled with flammable material at Israeli farms and forests, and while the number actually sent was considerably less, there were still enough balloons and terror kites to cause significant damage to Israeli farms. Dozens of dunams of wheat and forest cover were burned in the blazes. One fire broke out near Sderot, and it took firefighters many hours to bring it under control. Hamas also dispatched balloons with threats that the fires would continue.
On Friday night IDF forces targeted several groups that were preparing to fly terror balloons and kites. IDF forces shot in the area of the groups, chasing the groups away and preventing the dispatching of the balloons and kites. Israeli forces on Motzoei Shabbos fired at another group of balloon terrorists, a report Motzoei Shabbos said. Two terrorists were injured, the reports added.
Gad Yarkoni, head of the Eshkol Regional Council, said that Shabbos was “another day of difficult struggle for our people in the open areas, working in the strong heat in order to prevent the spread of fires to towns in the area, and in general. As in the past, our people were able to stand the test and accomplish their goals, despite the difficulty.”