At least 17 fires sparked in one day by incendiary kites and balloons

Israeli firefighters extinguish a fire in a wheat field caused from kites flown by Palestinian protesters, near the border with the Gaza Strip, May 30, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli firefighters extinguish a fire in a wheat field caused from kites flown by Palestinian protesters, near the border with the Gaza Strip, May 30, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

(JTA) – At least 17 fires were sparked on Israeli land near the Gaza border by incendiary kites and balloons launched from Gaza by Palestinian arsonists.

One of the largest fires was burning in southern Israel’s Kibbutz Or Haner. Nine teams of fire fighters and four firefighting airplanes were required to put out the fire there, Israel’s 10 Television News reported. Other fires burned in the Be’eri, Shokeda and Kisufim forests.

On Friday, about 4,000 Israelis gathered at the border near Gaza for a peaceful demonstration, waving Israeli flags and flying blue and white kites. The demonstrators called for the return of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers – Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul – being held by Hamas in Gaza.

Also on Friday, a Palestinian man, 22, was killed and dozens injured by Israeli troops as Palestinian protesters demonstrated on the border with Israel near Gaza City, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported. The Palestinian Ministry of Heath said that the Israel Defense Forces used live fire to repel the demonstrators. The protests at the border were part of the “Great March of Return,” which began in May.

Meanwhile, on Friday the Israel Police launched a campaign to call on children to stay away from any kites, balloons or drones they find this summer, as they could be rigged with explosives.

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