An Israeli aircraft on Wednesday fired warning shots at a group of Palestinians preparing to fly incendiary kites toward Israel from the Gaza Strip, for the second time of the day, the army said.
There were no reports of injuries.
The military said the group was operating out of the northern Gaza Strip and attempted to fly kites carrying incendiary devices into Israel.
The Israel Defense Forces conducted a similar strike earlier in the day, firing at a group of Gazans who had launched a number of balloons at southern Israel, some of which appeared to have landed in the Eshkol region.
The Israeli military has carried out multiple warning strikes in recent weeks at groups of Gazans preparing to launch incendiary devices toward Israel. The army has said repeatedly that it will act to prevent the launch of the airborne incendiary devices and explosives.
Since March 30, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have launched hundreds of kites and helium balloons bearing flammable materials, and occasionally explosives, sparking near-daily fires that have burned thousands of acres of land in southern Israel. At least three fires were reported in Israeli communities close to the Gaza border on Wednesday.
Israeli leaders were split on how to respond to these airborne arson attacks, with some calling for the IDF to shoot the kite flyers and balloon launchers on site, while others argued that this was a step too far.
In recent days, the military has attempted to force the Hamas terrorist group, which rules Gaza, to rein in these aerial arsonists by carrying out airstrikes on the organization’s positions in response to these kite and balloon attacks.
Around midnight on Tuesday, Israeli jets bombed three Hamas positions in the Strip in response to numerous airborne arson attacks by Gazans earlier in the day.
Minutes later, Palestinians in the Strip launched the first of many rocket and mortar barrages at southern Israel, triggering sirens throughout the area and sending thousands into bomb shelters.
Over the course of the next four hours, some 45 rockets and mortar shells were fired at southern Israel, with at least six exploding inside communities, causing damage but no injuries, including one that landed just outside a kindergarten.
In response, the Israeli military carried out two more rounds of airstrikes in Gaza, hitting a total of approximately 25 targets on a number of Hamas compounds.
On Wednesday morning, Gadi Yarkoni, the head of the Eshkol region, praised the IDF for carrying out its initial airstrike in response to the arson attacks.
“Eshkol residents had a sleepless night last night,” Yarkoni said. “We support the IDF for its response to the terror kites, which harm our way of life. And we expect the IDF to continue working to bring back calm to the region, with no more rockets launched at our communities and homes, and no more fires in our fields.”
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.