As Gaza protests continue, IDF employs new tactics to combat riots

The IDF is using new, small remote-controlled aircraft with knives on their wings to counter incendiary kites launched from the Gaza Strip.

Developed by the army and the Defense Ministry’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure (MAFAT), the IDF Southern Command use the drones to cut the wires holding the kites together, in order to prevent them from reaching Israeli fields and setting them ablaze.

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The IDF decided to make operational use of the aircraft on Friday, and it has since downed more than 40 kites, according to Walla.

A senior officer in the Southern Command told The Jerusalem Post last week that small drones had already brought one down, by cutting its lines.

“Hamas can build tunnels, they have rockets, and now they are using kites? For all of those threats we have something to counter them,” he said. Damage caused at the Kerem Shalom humanitarian crossing by dozens of violent rioters under the auspices Hamas, May 11, 2018 (IDF Spokesperson‘s Unit)

Gazans have been protesting along the border with Israel for the past six weeks, especially on Fridays, as part of what organizers call the “Great March of Return,” with participants throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at troops, and dispatching fire kites toward Israeli fields.

On Friday, some of the 15,000 demonstrators burned tires, in the hope the smoke would provide cover for saboteurs to destroy and cross the security fence, and threw grenades, pipe bombs and stones at IDF troops, in the seventh consecutive weekly protest. One Palestinian, identified by the Gaza Health Ministry as 40-year-old Jaber Salem Abu Mustafa, was killed when he was shot in the chest in eastern Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip. Another 973 Palestinians were wounded, with seven reported to be in critical condition.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh took part in the protests, arriving at the northern part of Gaza border, encouraging the rioters.

Hamas, he said, “will not give up the weapon of the resistance, we’ll develop it. We won’t give up Palestine, from the river to the sea, and we will not recognize Israel.”

Protesters also once again set fire to the Kerem Shalom crossing at the Strip’s southern border with Israel, causing significant damage, damaging fuel and gas pipes that serves Gaza. Rioters also set the site ablaze on May 4.