Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have used kites and balloons to try to start wildfires across the border in Israel — and now a bird, according to Israeli authorities.
A falcon, outfitted with a harness tied to a steel wire with flammable material at the end, was found hanging in a tree near the Gaza border, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority said in a statement Tuesday. Inspectors putting out a fire nearby found the dead bird Monday afternoon, the authority said.
This is the first time an animal has been used to ignite fires during weekly border protests that began in late March, according to the authority. The organization said it’s considering filing a complaint under international treaties over the use of an animal for what it called terrorism.
“Apparently it’s not enough to destroy nature with kites,” the Israel Defense Ministry unit that handles relations with the Palestinians tweeted. “Now falcons are being used for terror as well.”
Fires set by incendiary devices from Gaza have burned almost 7,000 acres of nature reserves and farmland in southern Israel, causing more than $2 million of damage, according to Israeli estimates. The airborne arson devices have become the weapon of choice for Hamas, which has set up a unit dedicated to making incendiary kites and balloons.
(c) 2018, Bloomberg · Alisa Odenheimer