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Israel Deploys Electronic Eye to Track Fire Kites and Balloons from Gaza

A masked Palestinian man launches a balloon loaded with flammable materials toward Israel from the southern Gaza town of Rafah on June 17, 2018. (source: AFP Photo/Said Khatib)

A masked Palestinian man launches a balloon loaded with flammable materials toward Israel from the southern Gaza town of Rafah on June 17, 2018. (source: AFP Photo/Said Khatib)

A cluster of balloons with a small explosive device attached to them, which landed and got stuck on a trampoline in a backyard in the Eshkol region of southern Israel on June 20, 2018. (source: Eshkol Security)

A cluster of balloons with a small explosive device attached to them, which landed and got stuck on a trampoline in a backyard in the Eshkol region of southern Israel on June 20, 2018. (source: Eshkol Security)

Smoke and flames rise from grassland Kibbutz Be'eri in southern Israel after Palestinians flew a kite laden with a Molotov cocktail over the border on May 2, 2018. (source: Times of Israel and Rafi Bavian)

Smoke and flames rise from grassland Kibbutz Be'eri in southern Israel after Palestinians flew a kite laden with a Molotov cocktail over the border on May 2, 2018. (source: Times of Israel and Rafi Bavian)

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Sky Spotter is being used to track fire kites and balloons launched into Israel from Gaza. (source: Hadashot news)

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Sky Spotter is being used to track fire kites and balloons launched into Israel from Gaza. (source: Hadashot news)

July 19, 2018 | Source: Times of Israel, timesofisrael.com, 21 June 2018, Stuart Winer

Sky Spotter can identify incoming airborne incendiaries, enabling drones to try intercept them, and giving firefighters advance warning; laser system also being developed.


Facing a wave of airborne incendiary attacks from the Gaza Strip, Israel has deployed a system that can spot fire-starting balloons and kites in the sky, track their progress, and then direct firefighters to their landing spots, enabling them to more rapidly extinguish the flames and reduce damage.

Since March 30, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have launched hundreds of kites and helium balloons bearing flammable materials, and occasionally explosives, sparking near-daily fires that have burned thousands of acres of land in southern Israel.

Israeli officials are concerned that if the fire attacks don’t stop — or aren’t foiled — they could push an escalation in violence that would lead to a major military confrontation with terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

Originally developed to counter small drones, Sky Spotter can track the balloons or kites and pinpoint their location, where they are heading, and where they are likely to land. The operators then notify firefighters, who can then try to reach the landing points to put out the flames before they spread.