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Israeli farmers living adjacent to the Gaza border will file a lawsuit at the International Criminal Court on Monday against senior Hamas leaders over the flying of hundreds of flaming “terror kites” from the Palestinian enclave into Israeli territory during several weeks of mass protests endorsed by the Islamist group.
The kites became a widely adopted tactic during the “March of Return” protests, where they have scorched dozens of acres of agricultural lands near the border causing millions of dollars in damages.
The farmers announced their intention to file the lawsuit on Sunday, lodging the complaint against Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, and Ismail Haniyeh, the overall head of the terror group, as well as other senior Hamas members.
The complaint comes in response to the Palestinian Authority’s filing of a referral at the ICC last week, which called on the international court in The Hague to “open an immediate investigation" into allegations of war crimes and apartheid against the Palestinian people.
“Israel will not remain silent. The current security situation, in which fields and forests in Israel are burned every day by activists of a terrorist organization, is inconceivable,” Nitzana Darshan-Leitner, president of the Shurat HaDin NGO which is helping file the suit, said in the statement.
“It cannot be that senior Hamas officials will accuse Israel of war crimes while using a civilian population, especially children, as human shields for their terrorist activities — which are repeatedly targeted at Israeli citizens,” the statement added. “Therefore, we call on the International Criminal Court in The Hague to exact justice upon them.”
Some 300 kites affixed to containers of burning fuel have been launched into Israeli territory in the past month, sparking more than 100 blazes.
On at least one occasion, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) has responded to such “kite attacks” by striking a Hamas post near the border fence.