Israeli plane strikes kite flyers in Gaza

By Hedaya al-Saeedi and Hani al-Shaer

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – An Israeli warplane on Saturday fired a missile into a group of Palestinians trying to launch incendiary kites and balloons near border of the Gaza Strip, according to the Israeli military.

In a statement, the army said the attack targeted a squad arson balloons from the northern Gaza Strip into Israel.

No casualties were reported.

In recent weeks, Palestinian activists have been flying burning kites and balloons over Israeli territory as part of ongoing anti-occupation protests along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone.

According to Israeli officials, the improvised aerial weapons have caused a number of fires inside Israeli settlements, causing significant material damage but not resulting in any deaths or injuries.

Since the Gaza rallies began on March 30, more than 160 Palestinian protesters have been martyred — and thousands more injured — by Israeli army troops deployed along the other side of the buffer zone.

Protesters demand the “right of return” to their homes and villages in historical Palestine, from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

They also demand an end to Israel’s 11-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.