Report: IDF to Announce New Terror Kite Defense System

Israeli firefighters extinguish a fire in a field  from kites flown by Palestinian protesters, near the border with the Gaza Strip, June 5, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The IDF is set to unveil a new high-tech system to identify and neutralize the launching of terror kites and balloons while they are still close to the ground in Gaza, Walla News reported Thursday. Sources told the site that the new system is the result of “intensive work” by the IDF, working with Israeli military and defense contractors, to use sensor technology to track down kites and balloons when they are launched. The data will be sent to a fleet of drones, which will launch automatically, track down the terror balloon or kite, and shoot it down while it is still over the skies of Gaza.

Security officials told Walla News that “we have been testing the system, and have achieved several breakthroughs that will allow us to officially announce the system in the coming days. We have already shown drones that could knock the kites and balloons out of the air, but we did not have a way to identify them at the launch sites before they reached Israeli airspace. The technology we will announce will be capable of doing that.”

Overnight Tuesday, Hamas fired 45 rockets at Israeli targets, with the IDF responding by hitting 25 Hamas targets. There were no rockets fired Wednesday, but Gaza terrorists continued their campaign of launching kites and balloons with flammable material at Israel. Dozens of fires broke out Wednesday, caused by the launches. Most were quickly extinguished, but at least three raged for several hours before being brought under control.

Israeli officials on Wednesday and Thursday have spoken more aggressively about the need for military action to restore quiet to the Gaza border area. Sources told Walla News that in the IDF, there is a belief that a major military campaign in the coming months is inevitable. “There are so many of these balloons and kites coming over the border, and it is just a matter of time before one of them hits an important target – like a weapons or ammunition storage unit – and causes a major tragedy,” the sources said. The sources said that it was likely that the army would begin to directly target the gangs setting off the launches, as that might be the only way to put off a major military campaign.

Speaking Thursday, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said that there was “a very good chance that a major campaign will be undertaken in Gaza in the coming months. The idea would be to ensure a long period in which Gaza terrorists fear to attack Israel, and to send a message to Gazans that the only way forward is for the Hamas regime to be overthrown. This is not something I want, but we may have no choice,” Erdan told Army Radio.

Erdan also advocated shooting the gangs that launch the kites and balloons. “Anyone participating in these activities is a terrorist, and must be treated as one. I believe we need to change our policy and shoot these people, along with the current policy of destroying Hamas terror targets, and to target senior Hamas members. We have been raising our level of response and should continue to do so, to get to the point where Hamas decides it has gone far enough, as it wants to avoid a direct conflict that it realizes will mean the end of its regime in Gaza.”