Hundreds of turkeys choke to death on smoke as fires rage near Gaza border
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Hundreds of turkeys choke to death on smoke as fires rage near Gaza border

Blaze near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha apparently set by balloon launched from Palestinian enclave

View of a fire at a nature reserve caused from kites flown by Palestinian protesters, near the border with the Gaza Strip, June 5, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
View of a fire at a nature reserve caused from kites flown by Palestinian protesters, near the border with the Gaza Strip, June 5, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Hundreds of turkeys in a coop in an Israeli kibbutz near the Gaza border died from smoke inhalation due to fires sparked by incendiary balloons launched from the Palestinian territory Sunday.

The loss of the turkeys on Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha in the Eshkol region was the latest incident of agriculture damage wreaked by near daily fires set by kites and balloons launched from Gaza.

Authorities on Sunday said they counted at least 20 brush fires during the day around the Gaza border area caused by incendiary balloons launched from the coastal enclave. A similar number of fires were set the day before.

Israel has been hard pressed to find a way to thwart the attacks, and the army recently stepped up airstrikes against Gazans connected to the kite and balloons launches.

In recent days, the military has taken to firing warning shots at groups launching the flaming kites and balloons, which have already burned thousands of acres of farmland, forests and parks, and caused millions of shekels in damage.

The Israeli Air Force on Sunday evening attacked three targets connected to a group of Palestinians who had launched incendiary balloons into southern Israel on Sunday evening.

The airstrikes, which caused no casualties, came as multiple balloons with small explosive devices touched down in southern Israel and others bearing pouches of burning material set fire to large swaths of land in the area.

The army said it first fired a warning shot near the Palestinians who were launching the balloons toward Israel. Approximately half an hour later, the Israel Defense Forces said it conducted a second round of strikes, hitting the tent in which the group was operating and a car that had been used to bring people to the area.

The IDF’s attack on Sunday evening was its third airstrike of the day.

On Sunday afternoon, an Israeli aircraft also targeted a group of Palestinians who had sent incendiary balloons into southern Israel from the southern Gaza Strip, near the city of Khan Younis.

In the predawn hours of Sunday, the air force also bombed a car that the army said belonged to one of the leaders of the Gazan kite and balloon attacks.

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