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Suspected balloon-borne bombs from Gaza land in south for first time in months

Sappers called to remove devices that touched down in a field just east of the Strip, amid rising tensions between Israel and Palestinians

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

A suspected explosive device that was apparently flown into southern Israel with a balloon from the Gaza Strip lands in a field in the community of Kfar Aza on May 3, 2021. (Sha'ar Hanegev region)
A suspected explosive device that was apparently flown into southern Israel with a balloon from the Gaza Strip lands in a field in the community of Kfar Aza on May 3, 2021. (Sha'ar Hanegev region)

Two balloons carrying suspected explosive devices that were apparently launched from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel on Monday, local authorities said in the first such attacks in months.

According to the Sha’ar Hanegev regional council, the suspected bombs were found in agricultural fields in the community of Kfar Aza, east of Gaza City.

Residents of the area reported seeing additional balloons overhead throughout the afternoon. It was not immediately clear where they landed.

Police sappers were called to remove the suspected explosives from Kfar Aza.

Once a regular phenomenon, balloons carrying explosives and incendiary devices have largely stopped being launched into Israel by Palestinian terrorist groups, following a ceasefire brokered between Jerusalem and Hamas last year.

A balloon from the Gaza Strip, carrying suspected explosive devices, lands near Kfar Aza on May 3, 2021. (Courtesy)

These were the first such balloons to land in Israel in several months.

The apparent airborne attack comes amid heightened tensions between Israel and Palestinian groups over the Palestinian Authority’s decision to indefinitely postpone elections planned for later this month. Hamas, the de facto ruler of Gaza, has condemned the PA’s move, calling it a “coup.”

Earlier this month, terrorists in Gaza launched dozens of rockets at southern Israel. Most of these landed in open fields where they caused no injury or damage, but a few struck inside Israeli communities with shrapnel hitting buildings and vehicles. No Israelis have been injured directly by the rockets or shells, but a number of people were hurt while running to bomb shelters or required medical assistance after suffering acute panic attacks from the sirens.

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