at least eight fires were caused by incendiary balloons on Monday in the Kissufim, Be’eri and Simhoni forests as well as in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund reported.
KKL-JNF staff worked with firefighters and volunteers from Kibbutz Be’eri to put out the fires. An additional fire was reported in Kibbutz Alumim. KKL-JNF staff reported many sightings of incendiary balloons in the air.
A cluster of incendiary balloons reached the Kissufim Forest with an explosive device attached to them. The device hit the ground and detonated. No injuries were reported.
On Sunday, nine fires were reported and 30 hectares of land was burnt in Nahal Gerar.
In recent days the IDF has carried out air strikes on cells in the northern Gaza Strip that had been launching incendiary balloons toward Israel.
Palestinians in Gaza began sending incendiary balloons and kites into Israel in March, causing widespread fires and serious damage to Israeli land close to the Gaza border.
Police has responded in the last few months to hundreds of suspicious balloons that have landed in the South. There were fewer reports of incendiary kites and balloons as talks of a cease-fire between Israel and Gaza were in the works last month, but the talks appear to have stalled recently and the incidents have become frequent again.
A youth-led Gazan unit called Irbak al-Leili, or “nocturnal disturbances,” have been protesting near the security fence from early evening until midnight for the past week, pointing lasers at IDF snipers as well as blasting songs and other loud messages aimed at Israeli civilians living in the Gaza vicinity. The unit has also launched incendiary balloons towards southern Israel.