Israel bombs Gaza target for flying 'burning protest kites'

Israeli drone targets Gaza car linked to 'burning kite' protests
3 min read
17 June, 2018
The drone strike is the latest Israeli 'deterrent' against further incendiary kite and balloon protests, as Israel warns more protesters could be shot dead at the border.
The drone strike destroyed the car allegedly belonging to a protest organiser [Getty]
An Israeli drone struck an empty car parked outside a mosque east of Gaza city at dawn on Sunday, claiming it had links to people taking part in the burning kite protests.

The aircraft reportedly launched one missile on the car outside the al-Murabitin mosque in the Shujaiyya neighbourhood of the city, setting it on fire and destroying it completely however no injuries were reported.

A spokesman for Israeli army, Avichai Adarai, wrote on Facebook that a military aircraft targeted the car of one of the leaders of a cell allegedly carrying out the incendiary kite and balloon protests in the Gaza Strip.

The strike comes a day after two Palestinian youths were wounded in a drone strike on Saturday, whom Israel claims were launching incendiary balloons from the enclave.

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The Israeli military has alleged that the drone strikes are intended to act as a deterrent against the protests, and are not meant to do harm.

The army has fired warning shots on several occasions against groups of Palestinians allegedly launching balloons and kites.

Last week, Israeli army officials said they would "no longer be able to show restraint" if faced with numerous incendiary kites and balloons from Gaza, and may shoot protesters dead at the border, according to Haaretz.

The kites, and more recently balloons, have become a potent symbol of a wave of Palestinian protests that broke out on March 30 against Israel's crippling decade-long blockade of Gaza.

No one has been hurt by the fires, but some 1,235 acres of fields have been burned by flames stoked by Mediterranean winds, causing around $2 million in damages, Israel's government has claimed.

The kites are the latest protest tactic, allowing Gazan protesters to inflict some economic losses on Israel, while remaining far enough from the border to avoid - for now at least - 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.

Over 129 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since protests began eleven weeks ago, the majority of which were killed near the border as troops use lethal force to prevent any infiltration attempts.

The Israeli army has been launching drones to damage or cut down the kites.

According to Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, of the more than 600 kites launched from Gaza so far, around 400 kites have been intercepted.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has meanwhile said Israeli snipers should shoot the kite flyers. 

"I expect the IDF (Israeli army) to handle these kite-flyers exactly as they would any terrorist, and the IDF’s targeted assassinations must also apply to these kite-flyers."