Published: Wed, July 18, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Israel hits Hamas posts in response to arson kites

Israel hits Hamas posts in response to arson kites

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited a southern Israeli town bordering Gaza on Tuesday that was pummeled with rockets from the strip over the weekend and told community leaders there that Israel is engaged in a "lengthy battle".

It appeared to be the first case of Gaza militants using birds to attack Israel and authorities said they were considering filing a complaint - under the appropriate global treaties - about the use of animals for militant activities.

According to Haaretz, Israel struck two Hamas locations in Gaza where they believed Hamas was launching the fiery kites and explosive balloons into Israel.

Hamas has denounced Israel's latest punitive measure.

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Gaza militants often vacate potential target sites during flare-ups and Israelis who live in villages and towns near the border have reinforced rooms in their homes and rocket sirens that alert of an incoming attack.

Gaza's only other functioning border crossing, Rafah, is with Egypt.

"People's life (in Gaza) has become more hard as people have limited money, the economy has collapsed, electricity and water are scarce", he said. Two Palestinian teenagers were killed, while four Israelis were wounded.

Hamas has been diverting resources intended for civilian development in Gaza to enhance its military capabilities, including a growing drone program.

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A spokesman for Israel's fire service says around 750 fires have burned some 2,600 hectares, estimating the damage at millions of shekels (hundreds of thousands of dollars or euros).

Education Minister and cabinet member Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) on Sunday criticized the Netanyahu government and the defense establishment on their decision-making regarding Hamas in Gaza, calling it a "grave error".

During the night, Palestinians fired more than 30 projectiles into Israel and kept up the attacks on Saturday, firing a further 60 rockets and mortar shells.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), a department of Israel's ministry of defense that deals with Gaza, tweeted, "Arson fires have been caused by incendiary materials flown from Gaza into Israel". Over 150 Palestinians have been killed since the protests erupted along the border separating Gaza and the occupied territories in March. Also Monday evening, Egypt announced that it would temporarily close the Rafah crossing in the wake of a technical malfunction. Organisers say the demonstrations aim to press demands for a right to lands lost to Israel in the 1948 war of its foundation and for the blockade to ease.

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