Large fire caused by kite sent from Gaza rages outside Israeli kibbutz
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Large fire caused by kite sent from Gaza rages outside Israeli kibbutz

Nine firefighting teams, 4 planes said participating in efforts to douse flames; second fire reported in area

Israeli firefighters extinguish a fire at Shikma Reservoir caused from kites flown by Palestinians, near the border with the Gaza Strip, July 5, 2018. (Edi Israel/Flash90)
Israeli firefighters extinguish a fire at Shikma Reservoir caused from kites flown by Palestinians, near the border with the Gaza Strip, July 5, 2018. (Edi Israel/Flash90)

Two fires blazed near Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip Saturday afternoon, caused by incendiary kites flown into Israel from the territory.

A large fire was raging near Kibbutz Or Haner, Channel 10 news reported. Nine firefighting teams were at the scene, with the support of four firefighting aircraft.

A second fire was reported near Kibbutz Nir Am.

Officials said there was no current danger to the communities themselves.

Recent months have seen an uptick in violence at the Gaza border, with weekly violent Palestinian protests, ongoing rocket attacks, and the new phenomenon of incendiary kites and balloons flown over the border, sometimes at a rate of several dozen each day.

The incendiary devices have sparked near-daily fires that have burned thousands of acres of farmland, parks, and forests. Some have been found connected to explosive devices.

Israeli firefighters extinguish a fire at Shikma Reservoir caused from kites flown by Palestinians, near the border with the Gaza Strip, July 5, 2018. (Edi Israel/Flash90)

On Friday police launched a campaign urging children to stay away from any unknown kites, balloons, or drones they may find on the ground this summer.

On Friday thousands of Israelis took part in a rally near Gaza calling for the return of the bodies of IDF soldiers held by Hamas.

Israelis take part in a rally near the Gaza border calling for the return of the bodies of IDF soldiers being held by Hamas on July 6, 2018. (Screen capture: Twitter)

Some 4,000 people took part in the Israeli event, waving Israeli flags and flying blue kites in a peaceful counter to the flaming airborne devices launched at Israel in recent months from Gaza.

Separately Friday, a few thousand Palestinians participated in the weekly “March of Return” protests on the Gaza border. One was reported killed when a device he was holding exploded.

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