Israel to deduct from Palestinian funds for arson damages

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Israel says it plans to deduct from tax funds it collects for the Palestinians the amount needed to compensate Israelis living near the Gaza Strip who have come under a wave of arson attacks.

Israel has been battling fires caused by kites rigged with incendiary devices launched by Palestinians in Gaza that have damaged forests and torched agricultural fields. The fires have disrupted daily life in communities near the Gaza Strip.

The kites have been flown by Gazans who have staged weekly protests since late March during which more than 115 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli army fire.

The statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office on Sunday didn't disclose how much would be deducted. Israeli Army Radio put the cost of damages at 5 million shekels ($1.4 million).