Israel has launched airstrikes at Hamas Islamist militant targets in the northern Gaza Strip early Monday responding to incendiary kites and balloons continue to be sent across into Israeli territory.
Israeli jets blasted nine targets responding to the continuing assaults that has caused extensive damage, to include three rocket launches.
Sirens also sounded in Israeli areas near the Gaza Strip at daybreak and the army said three rockets had been launched towards Israeli territory, but one fell short in the Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported from the rockets or air strikes.
In recent weeks, Palestinians have sent kites dangling coal embers or burning rags across the Gaza border to set fire to arid farmland and forests, others have carried small explosive devices in a new tactic that has caused extensive damage.
The Israeli military has fired warning shots from the air and destroyed property belonging to the kite launchers but has refrained from targeting them. Some Israeli ministers have called for those launchers to be targeted directly.
Israel has drafted in civilian drone enthusiasts as army reservists, instructing them to fly their remote-controlled aircraft into the kites, an Israeli general said, but an effective means to stop the kites has yet to be found.
“These are terrorist acts that endanger Israeli residents living in southern Israel and damage extensive areas in Israeli territory,” the military statement said of the kites and balloons.
At least 125 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops during mass demonstrations along the Gaza border since March 30 and the men sending the kites over the fence believe they have found an effective new weapon.
Around two million people live in Gaza, most of them the stateless descendants of refugees from what is now Israel. The territory has been controlled by Hamas for more than a decade, during which it has fought three wars against Israel.
Both Israel and Egypt have enforced a blockade of the strip citing the obvious security concerns and as a result, the living conditions and economic crisis inside the strip has gotten progressively worse in the past decade.
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