Army finds another IED on Gaza border; police disarm boobytrapped balloon

IDF detonates bomb in a ‘controlled blast’ for second time in 2 days, blames Hamas terror group for the attempted attack

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

A police sapper disarms an airborne explosive device that landed in the southern Israeli town of Kiryat Gat on September 14, 2018. (Israel Police)
A police sapper disarms an airborne explosive device that landed in the southern Israeli town of Kiryat Gat on September 14, 2018. (Israel Police)

The Israeli military found and destroyed an improvised explosive device along the southern Gaza border on Friday, the second such case in two days.

In addition, a cluster of balloons carrying an unlit explosive detonator, which was apparently launched from the Gaza Strip, landed in a playground in the southern Israeli town of Kiryat Gat.

The army said the improvised explosive device had been hidden underneath a pile of dirt next to the security fence, east of the Gazan city of Khan Younis. It had a receiver attached to it, allowing the device to be set off remotely, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The device was detonated by IDF troops in a controlled blast, the army said.

“There were no injuries, and no damage was caused,” the military said in a statement.

An improvised explosive device connected to a remote control receiver, which the IDF found on the southern Gaza border and destroyed in a controlled detonation on September 14, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

This was the second such explosive device planted along the southern Gaza security fence and discovered by the IDF this week.

The military accused the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group of being behind the attempted attack.

“Hamas continues to try to harm defensive infrastructure and security forces in the security fence area, while using residents of the Gaza Strip as human shields and as cover for terrorist activities,” the army said in a statement.

In Kiryat Gat, police officers were called to the playground on Friday morning where the airborne explosive device was located shortly before 7 a.m.

“Police forces, including a police sapper, were called to the scene and took care of the suspicious object and removed all danger,” the police said.

On Thursday, the Israeli military also detonated a large bomb that had been placed along the Gaza security fence by Palestinians during a recent riot, the army said.

The IED, which was placed inside a blue jerry can, was found earlier this week by the IDF next to the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip.

An improvised explosive device placed along the southern Gaza security fence by Palestinians shortly before it was detonated by the Israeli military in a controlled blast on September 13, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

According to the IDF, the bomb was placed along the fence during a riot earlier in the week.

“The planting of the explosive device by the terrorist cell under the cover of a violent demonstration is further evidence that the Hamas terror group is working to maintain the conflict in the fence area,” the army said at the time.

On Monday, several thousand Palestinians rioted along the Gaza security fence, burning tires and throwing rocks at IDF troops on the other side, the army said.

A young Palestinian uses a slingshot to hurl stones at Israeli forces during clashes along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, east of Gaza City, on September 7, 2018. (AFP/Said Khatib)

In response, Israeli troops fired tear gas canisters and, in some cases, live gunshots at the Palestinian rioters, according to the IDF.

No significant injuries were reported on either side.

A surge of violence in Gaza began in March with a series of protests along the border that were dubbed the “March of Return.” The clashes, which Israel says are being orchestrated by Gaza’s Hamas rulers, have included regular rock and Molotov cocktail attacks on troops, as well as shooting and IED attacks aimed at IDF soldiers and attempts to breach the border fence.

Since the protests began, at least 127 Palestinians have been killed in clashes, according to a tally from The Associated Press. Hamas, which seeks to destroy Israel, has acknowledged that dozens of those killed were its members. Others have been identified as members of the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, the second-largest terrorist organization in the Strip. During that time, a Gaza sniper killed an Israeli soldier.

During the demonstrations, protesters have also launched incendiary kites and balloons into Israel, sparking fires that have destroyed forests, burned crops and killed livestock. Over 7,000 acres of land have been burned, causing millions of shekels in damages, according to Israeli officials.

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