Despite reported halt in attacks, balloon-borne explosives found in south
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Despite reported halt in attacks, balloon-borne explosives found in south

Discoveries come day after report said Gaza terror factions would stop launching incendiary balloons toward Israeli communities

A bunch of balloons attached to an incendiary device is prepared to be flown into Israel, near the Israel-Gaza border east of Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, January 22, 2020. (Ail Ahmed/ Flash90)
Illustrative: A balloon-borne incendiary device is prepared to be flown into Israel from a location near the Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, January 22, 2020. (Ail Ahmed/ Flash90)

Two balloon-borne explosive devices launched from Gaza landed on the Israeli side of the border Wednesday morning despite a report a day earlier that Gaza balloon-launching cells would cease fire.

Balloons carrying an explosive device were located in an open field in the Eshkol Regional Council, while the remains of balloons that are believed to have been carrying an explosive device were found near Kibbutz Gvaram in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, Hebrew media reported. An inscription written in Hebrew on one of the balloons read: “The terrorist is on his way.”

Meanwhile, the IDF said Tuesday night that a rocket had been fired toward the Gaza border communities and landed in an open field without causing any damages or injuries.

The al-Quds daily reported Tuesday, citing an “on-the-ground source,” that terror factions in Gaza had decided to halt the launching of balloon-borne explosive devices from the Gaza Strip into Israel. The report came less than a day after an Egyptian security delegation concluded a visit to Gaza, where it met Hamas terror group officials and toured the border region between the coastal enclave and Egypt.

The decision to stop sending incendiary balloons from Gaza to Israel was made Monday night and conveyed to all launching units Tuesday morning, the source told the newspaper.

The report said that the leaders of the balloon launching units, which are believed to be affiliated with various factions, made the decision.

The past several weeks have seen a marked uptick in the launch of balloon-borne explosive devices from Gaza into Israel, including one apparent such device found close to a kindergarten in a border community on Tuesday. The Israel Police said that sappers were called to dispose of the device found in Kibbutz Sa’ad and that there were no reports of injuries or damage.

The Lebanese pro-Hezbollah Al-Akhbar newspaper reported earlier on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources in Palestinian terror groups, that the Egyptian delegation had conveyed a message from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Hamas in which he demanded “a return to calm.”

The sources told the daily that Netanyahu’s message, which the Egyptian delegation received from Israeli security officials in Tel Aviv on Sunday, included a threat that Israel would “deliver a major blow to Hamas with American and international cover” if calm does not resume.

Adam Rasgon contributed to this report. 

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