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33 fires break out in Israeli Gaza-border communities by incendiary kites

July 10, 2018 1:11 P.M. (Updated: July 11, 2018 12:33 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Thirty-three fires broke out on Sunday in forests and agricultural areas in Israeli communities surrounding the Gaza Strip borders, by incendiary kites and balloons.

According to Israeli Ynet news website, since Sunday morning Israeli firefighters have been attempting to extinguish all the fires outside the Gaza borders, and were able to control most of the flames within minutes, except for one fire that took longer to manage.

Some 6,000 dunams (1482.6 acres) of agricultural produce as well as thousands of dunams of open fields were burned due to about 678 fires caused by incendiary kites and balloons flown from inside the Gaza Strip.

Large numbers of Israeli forces were deployed across the Gaza border aiming to prevent the fires from spreading by early detection of the incendiary kites and balloons.

The website added that Israeli forces found a high-tech solution, with which they would be able to prevent fires, in the form of detection and interception drones. However, more fires broke out and are becoming a bigger threat to Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel will be closing the Gaza Strip's main commercial crossing and limiting the Palestinian coastal enclave's fishing zone in response to the protests in form of incendiary balloons across the borders.

In his statement, Netanyahu pointed out that Gaza's fishing zone would revert to 16 nautical miles after it was temporarily expanded to 9 nautical miles in April. Gaza’s fishing zone is the second most important sector in the enclave, a major food source, and an economic engine for over 1.8 million people in Gaza.

Hamas, a Palestinian political movement, slammed Netanyahu’s decision by describing it as a crime against humanity. Hamas added that Israel’s actions contradict humanitarian and international law.

After Netanyahu’s decision to increase the siege on Gaza, the “incendiary kites unit" of return camps in the central Gaza Strip threatened on Tuesday to escalate the number of incendiary kites and explosive balloons targeting Israeli fields surrounding Gaza.

The incendiary kites unit mentioned in a statement that Israel’s aim to increase the siege to prevent the launching of more incendiary kites is proof of its failure to manage the conflict. The unit added that Israel’s decision is not a solution and that Israel will be defeated by the people of Gaza.

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