For third time in a week, incendiary balloons found in Jerusalem

Civilian collects the device and drives it to police, despite warnings that such objects could hold improvised explosives

Incendiary balloons found in Bat Yam on October 11, 2018. (Israel Police)
Incendiary balloons found in Bat Yam on October 11, 2018. (Israel Police)

Sappers were called Saturday after a civilian discovered incendiary balloons in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ein Kerem.

According to a police statement, the individual spotted the balloons and drove with them in a vehicle before handing them over to a police patrol in the area.

The tactic of sending airborne incendiary devices into Israeli territory has been used almost daily by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since the start of weekly border protests there in March, but it is unlikely this balloon device was launched from the coastal enclave.

Police reiterated a call for the public to be extremely careful around any such objects — balloons and kites — as they could contain dangerous explosive or inflammatory material.

Incendiary balloon found in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ein Kerem, October 13, 2018 (Police spokesman’s unit)

Anyone who finds such an object should report it to the police call center and to leave handling of the device to sappers, the statement said.

Gaza protesters have launched hundreds of 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. Some balloons have carried improvised explosive devices.

There have been a number of incidents in which West Bank Palestinians appear to have copied the tactic, sending devices into Israeli communities and settlements.

This is the third time in a week that similar devices have been discovered in Jerusalem.

Israel Police sappers were called in Wednesday to neutralize an incendiary device attached to a balloon that landed in a construction site for a kindergarten in the heart of Jerusalem near Emek Refaim Street, the main road in the capital’s upscale German Colony neighborhood.

On Thursday a woman found incendiary balloons in the Valley of the Cross, near the Knesset, collected them and took them with her to her next destination before calling the police. Sappers took the balloons and swept the area where they were found for any other such devices.

Last week, police neutralized a similar incendiary balloon discovered in the courtyard of a home in the West Bank settlement of Givat Ze’ev, just north of Jerusalem.

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