Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Arson Balloons Launched From Gaza Lead To IDF Firing On Hamas In Response

Multiple arson balloons launched from Gaza; IDF hits Hamas post in response

Arson balloon attacks continued for a second day on Wednesday, as at least three balloons launched from the Gaza Strip landed in Israel or exploded en route, according to one Gaza-bordering local council.
In response, IDF aircraft fired at a group of Palestinians launching the incendiary devices, the Israeli military said Wednesday evening, calling the target a Hamas post from which the airborne devices were launched.
No injuries were reported in the strikes east of the el-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza.A large bundled cluster of balloons carrying a cardboard model of a drone landed in a field in the Eshkol region on Wednesday afternoon, a spokesperson for the local council said. It was one of the largest airborne devices to reach Israel from the Palestinian territory in months.

Police sappers were called to remove the drone, the Eshkol spokesperson said.
A short time earlier, another balloon with a suspected explosive device was found in an agricultural field in the Eshkol region, which borders Gaza, the local government said.
Police sappers were called to the scene and removed the device.
Also Wednesday, a balloon from Gaza exploded in the air nearby. It is not clear what caused the airborne explosion, though it appears to have been something other than the balloon itself, as the sound was heard by fieldhands working nearby.
The spate of arson balloon launches followed a Gazan balloon launch on Tuesday that sparked the first brush fire in southern Israel in months.
The blaze burned grasslands in a wooded area outside the community of Kibbutz Kissufim in the Eshkol region. It was quickly extinguished, according to the Israel Fire and Rescue Services.

The Tuesday balloon attacks came as dozens of Palestinians took part in riots along the northern border of the Gaza Strip, across from Kibbutz Zikim, the army said.
Demonstrators burned tires, threw rocks at soldiers and attacked the security fence. In one case, rioters attempted to throw an explosive device across the border, but it failed to clear the fence and landed inside Gaza, the military said.
Israeli troops responded with tear gas and, in some cases, live fire.

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