At least three brush fires were ignited Thursday in southern Israel by balloons carrying incendiary devices that were launched from the Gaza Strip, the fire department said, sparking concern over a possible return of the phenomenon.
Another balloon that carried a suspected explosive device was found near the city of Arad, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the coastal enclave. It was located by police and detonated in a controlled explosion, police said.
The origin of the balloon was not known.
Throughout the day, several blazes were reported in the Hof Ashkelon and Eshkol Regions, northeast and east of the Gaza Strip, respectively. The fires were quickly brought under control. No injuries were reported as a result of the blazes.
An investigation into the cause of the fires determined that they were sparked by balloon-borne incendiary devices, the southern division of Fire and Rescue Services said.
The practice of launching balloon-borne incendiary and explosive devices from the Gaza Strip toward Israel has waxed and waned over the past two years, though there have been relatively few launches of late as the Israeli government and Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group have reportedly been negotiating a long-term ceasefire.