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Suspected balloon-borne explosive found in southern Israel near Gaza

Police sappers are defusing device apparently launched from the Strip, following several attacks over the past month from the Palestinian enclave

A suspected balloon-borne explosive device apparently launched from the Gaza Strip found in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, December 1, 2020. (Hof Ashkelon Regional Council)
A suspected balloon-borne explosive device apparently launched from the Gaza Strip found in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, December 1, 2020. (Hof Ashkelon Regional Council)

A suspected balloon-borne explosive device apparently launched from the Gaza Strip was found Tuesday in southern Israel, following a lull in the launching of airborne incendiary objects from the Palestinian enclave.

The Hof Ashkelon Regional Council said the device was found in a local community, with a photo showing an object attached to a balloon in the middle of the field.

A police sapper was defusing the object, according to the regional council.

There were no reports of injuries or damage.

The discovery of the device follows several attacks emanating from Gaza the past month, including the firing of two rockets toward southern and central Israel that the military reportedly determined were set off by a lightning strike. In October the IDF said it uncovered a Hamas attack tunnel dug from Gaza into Israel.

Amid the rising tensions, the Israel Defense Forces held a drill last month simulating a war in the Hamas-ruled Strip.

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, with the last major uptick in airborne attacks taking place in August.

Israel has fought three large campaigns against terror groups in Gaza since Hamas wrested control of the enclave in 2007, along with dozens of smaller exchanges.

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