Egypt 'pressures Hamas' to stop sending fire-kites from Gaza

Egypt 'pressures Hamas' to stop sending fire-kites from Gaza
2 min read
18 July, 2018
Egypt has reportedly pressured Gaza's Hamas rulers to prevent incendiary kites and balloons from being launched into Israel.
The kites have devastated large swaths of farmland and nature reserves in southern Israel. [Getty]

Egypt has reportedly pressured Gaza's Hamas rulers to prevent incendiary kites and balloons from being launched into Israel.

Cairo has been exerting pressure on Hamas in the past week, Israeli news site Ynet reported, warning that Israel could launch a military campaign to stop the airborne flammable devices.

Israel's Channel 10 news on Tuesday reported that the army had been instructed to prepare for a military attack on Gaza if the incendiary devices continue.

Israel's political leadership has set Friday as the deadline for the attacks to cease, the report added.

Hamas reportedly told the Egyptians that it is unable to stop the kites but is working to reduce their number.

"Hamas can't stop the balloons because it will undermine its position with the residents of the Gaza Strip and its own supporters. It would be seen as capitulation, and therefore it must be done gradually," a source in the Gaza Strip told Ynet.

No one has been hurt by the kites, but wildfires have razed some 7,000 acres of forests and farmland, causing millions of dollars in damage.

This week, Israel tightened its decade-long blockade on the besieged territory in what it justified as retaliation to the incendiary kites, stopping fuel and gas imports and reducing the Israeli-designated fishing zone.

The kites, and more recently balloons, released with incendiary material rags are the latest protest tactic, allowing Gazan protesters to inflict some economic losses on Israel while remaining far enough from the border to avoid being shot by Israeli forces.

Many observers argue that the makeshift kite and balloon protests, met with drone strikes and military action, reflect the deep inequality at the heart of the conflict and crippling blockade of the enclave.

Since the protests broke out along the border on 30 March, at least 145 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.

The majority of those killed were non-violent protesters, as well as journalists, bystanders and a nurse, however, a small number were seeking to breach or damage the border fence.

The killings peaked on 14 May when the US opened its new embassy in Jerusalem and 62 Palestinians were massacred in one day.