In a video posted to social media, staff at a kindergarten in the south of the country rushed children to safety on Wednesday as they spotted a suspected bomb-carrying balloon from the Gaza Strip floating toward their play area.
The footage, which was reportedly filmed in an unnamed community near the city of Kiryat Gat, shows an airborne object similar to the kind that terrorists have recently been using to carry explosives and incendiary devices across the border from Gaza.
Staff can be heard desperately urging the children, some of whom sound to be in tears, to “quickly run inside” as the balloon loomed overheard.
There were no injuries reported in the incident.
מה עובר על ילדי עוטף עזה? רק דוגמה אחת מצמררת: בהלה בגן ילדים בעוטף בזמן שבלון נפץ חולף בשמייים. "כל הילדים להיכנס לגן", קוראת הגננת pic.twitter.com/0Sqipaw5Od
— matan tzuri מתן צורי (@MatanTzuri) February 5, 2020
Also Wednesday, a suspected explosive device connected to a bunch of inflated latex gloves, apparently launched from Gaza, landed in a field near the city of Sderot, police said.
Police sappers were called to the scene to remove the device.
Other balloon-borne devices were also found in the area of the Merhavim Regional Council.
A suspected explosive device connected to a bunch of inflated latex gloves that was apparently launched from Gaza landed in a field near the city of Sderot. Police sappers called to the scene to remove the device.
????: Israel Police pic.twitter.com/jYKxetPwlp
— Judah Ari Gross (@JudahAriGross) February 5, 2020
The incidents came after the Israel Defense Forces carried out airstrikes in Gaza in the predawn hours. The strikes were in response to three rockets that were fired into Israel from the Strip, the army said.
IDF aircraft attacked several targets near Khan Younis in southern Gaza, according to Palestinian media reports.
At least three rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel shortly after midnight, setting off rocket sirens in southern Israeli communities.
Two people were lightly injured while rushing for bomb shelters, Army Radio reported. There were no reports of the Iron Dome missile defense system being activated.
A total of 13 rockets have been fired into Israel in the past week, the IDF said.
The area has seen a marked increase in violence in recent days days, with near daily rocket fire and launches of suspected balloon borne bombs, drawing retaliatory airstrikes and punitive measures.
On Monday, at least nine balloons suspected of carrying explosives and incendiary devices from the Gaza Strip were found in Israeli communities near the restive frontier.
Tensions between Israel and Gaza have been steadily rising over the past two weeks, after several months of relative calm. Fears have mounted in recent days of an escalation of violence in Gaza and the West Bank following the release of the US peace plan that is seen as heavily favoring Israel.
Late last month a senior Hamas official said the recent string of balloons was a signal to Israel to accelerate unofficial “understandings” meant to ease the blockade on the territory ruled by the terror group.
Hamas is a terror group committed to Israel’s destruction, and it has ruled Gaza since taking over the territory from the Palestinian Authority in a bloody coup in 2007. It has since fired tens of thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians and fought three wars with Israel.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.