The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spent NIS 40 million ($10.9 million) responding to weekly riots and protests along the Gaza border last year, according to 2018 spending figures published by the Defense Ministry on Monday.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians have amassed at various flashpoints along the Gaza border for the Hamas-organized “Great March of Return” protests nearly every week since March 30. The protests have often turned violent, with demonstrators burning tires, hurling rocks and other incendiary devices across the border, and at times planting explosive charges along the security fence.
The Defense Ministry said that the 40 million shekels spent on the Gaza border response came from a special fund separate from the military’s annual budget and did not include payments to residents of the area whose farmlands were destroyed by the cross-border arson devices known as “fire kites.”
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