Suspected balloon-borne bomb found near southern kindergarten

No injuries or damage; incident comes days after video from a nearby town showed staff rushing children to safety

Masked Palestinians prepare to release an incendiary device near Gaza's Bureij refugee camp, along the Israel-Gaza border fence, on February 10, 2020 (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
Masked Palestinians prepare to release an incendiary device near Gaza's Bureij refugee camp, along the Israel-Gaza border fence, on February 10, 2020 (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

A suspected explosive device attached to a cluster of balloons that was apparently launched from Gaza was found close to a kindergarten in a border community, Hebrew media reported Tuesday.

According to the reports, police sappers were called to dispose of the suspected balloon-borne bomb found in Kibbutz Sa’ad.

There were no reports of injuries or damage.

In a video posted to social media last week, staff at a kindergarten in the south of the country could be seen rushing children to safety as they spotted a suspected bomb-carrying balloon from the Gaza Strip floating toward their play area.

In a bid to stem the ongoing tensions, Egyptian intelligence officials arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday, in their first visit to the coastal enclave in several months. The arrival of the Egyptian intelligence delegation in Gaza came following a marked uptick in the launch of projectiles and balloon-borne explosive devices from the coastal enclave into Israel over the past two weeks.

The Israeli Defense Forces says it has responded to the projectiles and incendiary balloons by carrying out airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza.

Israeli warplanes attacked several targets in the Gaza Strip after midnight Sunday, the army said, several hours after terrorists in the enclave launched a rocket into Israel.

Illustrative: Rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, November 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Earlier on Sunday, Israeli politicians threatened a harsh military response if attacks from the Gaza Strip continued.

Israeli defense officials believe that the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group is trying to increase pressure on Israel in a bid to extract greater concessions in ongoing ceasefire negotiations.

Fears have also mounted in recent days of an escalation of violence in Gaza and the West Bank following the release last week of a US peace plan that is seen as heavily favoring Israel and which Palestinian leaders have rejected.

Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip began flying explosive and incendiary devices into Israel using clusters of balloons and kites beginning in 2018. The practice has waxed and waned over time, but has picked up considerably in recent weeks, with dozens of these balloon-borne bombs landing in towns and farming communities adjacent to the Palestinian enclave.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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