Balloon-borne incendiary devices land in Israel amid Gaza truce efforts
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Balloon-borne incendiary devices land in Israel amid Gaza truce efforts

Sappers called in to inspect suspicious objects that fell in Eshkol and Sha’ar Hanegev regions, without causing injuries or damage

An incendiary device attached to balloons that  landed in the Sha'ar Hanegev region in Israel on March 28, 2019. (Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council)
An incendiary device attached to balloons that landed in the Sha'ar Hanegev region in Israel on March 28, 2019. (Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council)

Three incendiary devices attached to balloons apparently launched from the Gaza Strip landed in Israeli territory on Thursday, amid ceasefire efforts brokered by Egypt.

One of them landed in the Eshkol region in the morning, while two others was found several hours later at farmlands belonging to communities in the Sha’ar Hanegev region.

Police sappers were called to defuse the objects. There were no reports of injuries or damage in any of the incidents.

In possible response, Palestinians reported that the Israeli Air Force was carrying out “mock attacks” in Gaza, flying over the territory and setting off sonic booms.

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

Several more such devices were launched on Wednesday, including one that sparked a small fire after landing in Eshkol and another that landed in the Lachish region, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Palestinian territory.

Airborne incendiary devices flown from Gaza usually land within the immediate area around the coastal enclave and are rarely reported to travel such distances.

The incidents came after an Egyptian delegation held talks with Palestinian terror group leaders in an effort to broker a ceasefire following intense fighting earlier in the week.

The violence this week started after a rocket fired from Gaza struck a farming community in central Israel early Monday, leveling a home and injuring seven people, including two small children.

A rocket from the Gaza Strip that struck a home in the central Israeli town of Mishmeret on March 25, 2019. (Israel Police)

Israeli warplanes subsequently carried out dozens of bombing runs and Gazans fired some 60 projectiles at southern Israel, with the violence only waning before dawn Wednesday.

The latest violence came as the army braced for potential large-scale clashes along the Gaza border over the weekend to mark a year since the start of the so-called March of Return protests, which began March 30, 2018.

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