Firefighters battled to fight five blazes sparked by incendiary devices flown toward Israeli communities from Gaza on Saturday.
Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen said Saturday that those who launch the kites from Gaza should be targeted, as the safety of Israelis living in the vicinity of the coastal enclave must be the first priority.
“These kites are not toys, but weapons aimed at hurting us, just like Kassam rockets and Molotov cocktails,” Cohen told the Shabbat b’Tarbut cultural event in Holon.
Israeli leaders have been split on how to respond to those responsible for the airborne arson attacks, with some calling for the IDF to shoot the kite flyers and balloon launchers on sight, while others argue that it would be a step too far.
Since March 30, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have launched countless kites, balloons and inflated latex condoms bearing flammable materials, and occasionally explosives, into Israeli territory, sparking near-daily fires that have burned thousands of acres of farmland, parks and forests.
Saturday’s fires come a day after the Hamas-run health ministry said two Palestinians were killed Friday in violent demonstrations along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel.
A 13-year-old was fatally shot in the head and a 24-year-old man died of gunshot wounds to his leg and abdomen, the ministry said.
Around 5,000 Palestinians demonstrated at five points along the border. Rioters burned tires and attacked Israeli forces with rocks and Molotov cocktails. At one point a bomb was hurled at troops.
Fifteen fires broke out in Israel Friday due to incendiary balloons and kites launched from the Gaza Strip.