Gaza protest. Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90
Massive protests erupted along the Gaza border for the sixth consecutive week, with about seven thousand Palestinians participating, burning tires and throwing stones at the IDF forces nearby. During the events, two IDF documentation drones were downed, the military has confirmed. The IDF clarified that no sensitive information can be extracted from the drones and that the incident is under investigation.
Meanwhile, two attempts to sabotage the security fence and infiltrate Israel from Gaza were thwarted by the IDF earlier today. In addition, an IED was thrown by protesters toward the border fence.
On Friday evening, it was reported that dozens of protesters managed to enter the Palestinian section of the Kerem Shalom border crossing, which is used for transferring goods into the Gaza Strip. The protesters also sabotaged several pipes that supply gas and fuel to the Gazans. The IDF spokesperson stated that "this is a cynical action that harms the lives of Gaza residents and the humanitarian effort carried by Israel and other countries." The crossing will not be reopened until Sunday and an official in the IDF Southern Command said that Israel is now considering delaying the reopening.
Following the past weeks' events, sources in the Gaza Strip said that they are preparing to use hundreds of kites during today's border protests and that some of them will be used against the Israeli communities along the Gaza border. They also said that today's protests are themed as the "Palestinian Workers' Friday."
JOL previously reported that over the past few weeks, Palestinian protesters have been flying kites loaded with flammable material over the Gaza border. In some cases, such kites have started fires and caused damage to agriculture after landing in southern Israel. A senior IDF official told Israel News Company on Thursday that these kites are seen by the army as a form of terrorism and will be treated as such.
During a morning interview with Kan Reshet Bet, Energy Minister and security cabinet member Yuval Steinitz commented on the use of flammable kites by Gazans and said that Israel is considering methods to deal with this phenomenon, "We were slightly surprised by this thing. It took a week or two for us to understand. We can intercept the kites and the kite flyers – as long as it is specified as a terror activity. Israel is also considering steps that are beyond interception."