Arson kite lands in West Bank settlement vineyard, causing fire but no damage

Winemakers quickly extinguish flames started by incendiary device, suspected to have been launched from Nablus area

A kite carrying incendiaries which landed in an Israeli vineyard in the West Bank, August 6, 2018. (Tura Winery)
A kite carrying incendiaries which landed in an Israeli vineyard in the West Bank, August 6, 2018. (Tura Winery)

A kite carrying incendiary materials landed Monday in an Israeli vineyard located in the West Bank, starting a small fire, which was quickly extinguished.

The kite came down in the Tura winery, near Mount Gerizim in the northern West Bank, close to the Palestinian city of Nablus.

There was no damage to the vineyard, the winery owners said.

Security officials assessed that it was not the first time that Palestinians in the West Bank have tried to copy the method used by those in the Gaza Strip, Hadashot TV news reported.

For the last four months, southern Israel has experienced hundreds of fires as a result of incendiary kites and balloons flown over the border from Gaza. Over 7,000 acres of land have been burned, causing millions of shekels in damages, according to Israeli officials.

Recently, balloons have been found farther and farther from the Gaza Strip, including as far away as the southern city of Beersheba. Israel has struggled to counter the arson assaults, and has been stepping up airstrikes on Palestinians preparing to launch incendiaries, killing or injuring those involved.

Last month a fire balloon was found in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem, which lies adjacent to Beit Jala and Bethlehem in the Palestinian Authority

Over the weekend, 40 fires broke out in southern Israel sparked by incendiary balloons launched from the Gaza Strip.

In response to the continued launching of incendiary balloons from Gaza, the IDF on Saturday said it struck two separate cells of Palestinians flying the devices over the border.

The weekend arson attacks came as Gaza’s Hamas rulers were reportedly considering a long-term ceasefire deal with Israel.

Since March, there have been near-weekly, violent protests along the Israel-Gaza border organized by Gaza’s Hamas rulers, leading to the most serious escalation of tensions between the two sides since the 2014 war.

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