Balloon-borne device found near community in Gaza border region
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Balloon-borne device found near community in Gaza border region

No injuries or damage reported; police sappers alerted to deal with suspicious object

Illustrative. An incendiary device attached to balloons that  landed in the Eshkol region in Israel on March 28, 2019. (Eshkol Regional Council)
Illustrative. An incendiary device attached to balloons that landed in the Eshkol region in Israel on March 28, 2019. (Eshkol Regional Council)

A suspicious package attached to balloons was found Monday morning near a community close to the border with the Gaza Strip, the Eshkol Regional Council said.

“A bunch of balloons attached to a package was found in an open area outside an Eshkol community,” the council said in a statement.

Police sappers were alerted to deal with the device. There were no reports of injuries or damage.

The incident came after a fresh surge in violence that began last Thursday, including two nights of rocket attacks and retaliatory air force strikes, and a wave of arson balloons sent into Israel.

On Sunday, as a fragile calm returned to the border region, a Qatari delegation led by envoy Mohammed al-Emadi entered the Gaza Strip with a fresh delivery of cash, according to Palestinian media reports.

The delegation had been expected Saturday, but was reportedly delayed by a day due to discussions with Israeli officials on issues relating to the truce deal aimed at keeping calm along the border.

The cash will be distributed to needy families in Gaza on Monday, starting at 8 a.m., the reports said. It is also used to fund UN-run work programs. The cash injections were originally used to pay salaries of Hamas employees, but this was stopped after political opposition in Israel.

Tensions with Gaza have been steadily rising in recent weeks, with Israel blocking Gazan fishermen from access to the sea in response to multiple incendiary balloons being launched over the border. Some of balloons have also carried explosive devices, which have detonated in the air or on the ground inside Israeli territory.

Hamas, which seized control of Gaza in 2007 and seeks to destroy Israel, has complained that Israel is not fully implementing an unofficial ceasefire deal between the sides, while Jerusalem has accused Palestinian terror groups of breaching the understandings. The terror group has said it does not know who fired the rockets last week.

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