Incendiary balloons found in Jerusalem, Bat Yam
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Incendiary balloons found in Jerusalem, Bat Yam

Police sappers neutralize device near the Knesset, as Gaza tactic proliferates

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

Israel Police sappers were called in Thursday to respond to incendiary balloons in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv suburb Bat Yam, as attacks copycatting the Gaza tactic increased.

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

Sappers were also called in to handle a balloon in Bat Yam. No further information was immediately available.

Police reiterated their instructions to the public not to touch or approach suspicious objects, including kites and balloons which may contain flammable or explosive material. Anyone who finds such an object should report it to the police call center and leave handling of the device to sappers, the statement said.

On Wednesday police sappers were called to neutralize an incendiary device attached to a balloon that landed in a construction site for a kindergarten near Emek Refaim Street, the main road in the upscale German Colony neighborhood in the capital.

Remains of incendiary balloons found in Jerusalem’s Valley of the Cross on October 11, 2018. (Israel Police)

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.

It was not clear where these latest balloons originated from.

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.

Suspected incendiary balloon discovered in Modiin, October 1, 2018 (police spokesman’s unit)

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.

On Monday, 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.

Last week a suspected incendiary balloon was discovered on a highway close to the Modiin industrial zone in the center of the country.

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