The Israeli army has finally found an effective solution to the so-called ‘kite terror’ that has already destroyed hundreds of acres of agricultural land and forests in southern Israel.
This solution was initially developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to counter the growing threat of small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) that are used by Hamas and Hezbollah to spy on Israel or to carry out terror attacks against the Jewish state.
Hadashot, a state-funded broadcaster in Israel, reported on Thursday that the IDF has begun using the ‘electronic eye’ to identify where the incendiary kites and balloons are launched from in Gaza, and to track them down before they reach Israel.
The system, called Sky Spotter, enables the IDF to determine the trajectory of the terror kites and balloons and to predict where exactly they will land. A group of IDF operators is now able to provide early warning to firefighters, who then arrive on the spot where the balloons and kites land before they can cause a large blaze.
Sky Spotter is also able to direct small Israeli UAV’s, which are used to bring down the kites and balloons mid-flight.
The system will probably prevent a large-scale military operation in Gaza to stop the ‘kite terror,’ though the Israel Air Force and the IDF continue to target Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in response to the organized attempts to scorch southern Israel.
On Tuesday night, the IAF bombed a car belonging to a kite terror cell, after which Hamas responded by firing 12 rockets into Israel. Three of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile shield, while no casualties or damages were reported.
The Israeli army last week revealed that “the launching of arson and explosive device-laden kites and balloons is now a deliberate activity, planned and executed by the Hamas terror organization, targeting Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip.”
The IDF added that “arson kites are made by Hamas terror operatives in large quantities and in an organized manner.”
Hamas, meanwhile, has to cope with growing unrest in Gaza as a result of its failure to bring Israel to its knees via the ‘Great March of Return,’ and to improve the ailing economy of the coastal enclave.
A number of residents of the impoverished Gaza Strip last week took the streets to demand Palestinian unity, meaning reconciliation between Hamas and the central Fatah-led PA government in Ramallah. The protest was organized by disgruntled Palestinian Arabs who served jail-time in Israel for terror-related activities. About a year ago, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas stopped paying monthly stipends to these ex-prisoners, who now demand Hamas relinquishes control over the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority.
The protest was violently dispersed by Hamas members wearing kaffiyehs and white baseball caps who came out of a mosque, according to eye-witnesses. The plainclothes Hamas agents carried signs and shouted slogans against PA-leader Mahmoud Abbas who, they said, must be removed from power. When the protesters refused to back down, the Hamas agents destroyed their stage and confiscated video footage and photos of the violent crackdown.
Hamas later denied it had put a violent end to the protest, which came a week after similar demonstrations in the Palestinian cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem, where they were oddly condoned and even encouraged by the PA police. These protests were more directed at Abbas’ ruling clan, which has totally failed to bring prosperity to the territories under its control and is blamed for the humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip.
“According to reports on Palestinian news sites, the protesters (in Ramallah and Bethlehem) praised Mohammed Def, the head of Hamas’ military wing, called for an end to the security cooperation with Israel, and shouted slogans disparaging the nonviolent struggle and favoring a return to the armed struggle,” the Israeli paper Ha’aretz reported last week.