Balloon carrying suspicious object found in southern Israeli community
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Balloon carrying suspicious object found in southern Israeli community

Police sappers deal with object found in orchard; no damage caused to surrounding area

Illustrative: Incendiary balloons are flown toward Israel during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli troops east of Gaza City, along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, on July 13, 2018. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)
Illustrative: Incendiary balloons are flown toward Israel during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli troops east of Gaza City, along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, on July 13, 2018. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

Police sappers were called to a community in the Be’er Tuvia Regional Council in southern Israel Sunday afternoon, after a helium balloon tied to a suspicious object landed there.

A photo showed policemen and the balloon on a road in the middle of an orchard.

Sappers dealt with the object, and no damage was caused to the surrounding area.

It was not clear whether the balloon originated from the Gaza Strip. The regional council’s territory is located east of Ashdod. However, that possibility was likely, as recent days have seen multiple incendiary balloons launched from the Strip land in Israeli territory, sparking fires in border areas.

Since last March, airborne incendiaries from Gaza have caused fires that burned thousands of acres of farmland and nature reserves in Israel, causing millions of shekels’ worth of damage.

Recent weeks have seen tensions in the Gaza Strip rise after an intense two-day flareup earlier this month between Israel and terror groups in the Palestinian enclave.

According to Hebrew media, the agreement that ended the violence included a Hamas obligation to halt violent incidents along the border and an end to the launching of incendiary balloons at Israeli communities.

Last week, Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians announced it was reducing the fishing zone off the coast of the Strip in response to balloon attacks, just three days after broadening it.

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