Police sappers were called on Monday after a “suspicious bunch of balloons” was discovered near the central city of Beit Shemesh.
Police said in a statement that the balloons were found outside the Mesilat Zion moshav and that a suspicious object was dealt with by the sappers.
Hebrew-language media reported that there were explosives and a small Palestinian flag attached to the balloons.
Police called on the public to alert authorities to any suspicious-looking objects and refrain from approaching them.
צרור הבלונים החשוד שאותר ליד מסילת ציון. מטען נפץ קטן ודגל פלסטין מבצבץ. נוטרל על ידי חבלן המשטרה ללא נזק או נפגעים. pic.twitter.com/tkyUpd0Wj6
— יובל שגב | Yuval Segev (@Segev_Yuval) January 20, 2020
In recent days, terror groups in the Gaza Strip have flown numerous bombs and incendiary devices into Israeli territory from the enclave with the aid of helium-filled balloons, at times prompting retaliatory strikes from the Israeli Defense Forces, according to Palestinian reports.
The tactic of launching balloons carrying explosive and arson devices from Gaza into Israel emerged in 2018 as part of a series of protests and riots along the Strip’s border, known collectively as the March of Return. The simple and cheap method of attack by Palestinians has proved effective as Israeli security forces have struggled to counter the tactic, but had largely stopped over half a year ago.