Israel Retaliates Against Hamas’ Use of Burning Balloons at Gaza Border

Palestinian protesters carry transparent kite defaced with swastika during clashes with Israeli forces across Gaza border / Getty

The Israeli army reported that Hamas launched burning balloons into Israel on Monday, leading to retaliatory attacks on Hamas infrastructure in Gaza, according to Haaretz.

A Palestinian man was also killed while trying to breach the fence separating Israel and Gaza.

The strikes, which occurred in the evening, followed attacks on targets in Gaza on Sunday night in response to the use of explosive kites by Palestinian protesters, CNN reported. The airstrikes hit two military compounds and a munitions facility.

Palestinian protesters have been launching kites carrying incendiary devices into Israel during protests along the Israel-Gaza border. The kites have caused more than 400 fires and destroyed thousands of acres of farmland.

The Israeli military has struggled to stop the kites from entering the country and causing significant damage. The army is now using drones to latch onto the kites and guide them away from areas where they can do extensive harm.

The head of the Israeli military’s research and development unit, Col. Nadav Livne, conceded, "It is not 100 percent protection, but we get about 90 percent."

Israeli military officials have said they prefer to attack targets associated with Hamas, rather than the individuals launching kites, when responding to the kite and balloon attacks. They believe concentrating on Hamas targets minimizes unnecessary casualties and imposes costs on the organization that may lead it to discourage further kite attacks.