Two devices attached to balloons land in Gaza-border community
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Two devices attached to balloons land in Gaza-border community

Police sappers called to deal with objects, which came down in agricultural areas in Eshkol Regional Council; at least one package reportedly an explosive

A suspicious device, attached to balloons, which was found in the Eshkol Regional Council, March 11, 2019. (Eshkol Regional Council security)
A suspicious device, attached to balloons, which was found in the Eshkol Regional Council, March 11, 2019. (Eshkol Regional Council security)

Two suspicious packages attached to balloons, at least one of of which was reportedly an explosive device, were found Monday at different locations in a southern community near the Gaza Strip.

Police sappers were called in to deal with the devices, which landed in areas of the Eshkol Regional Council.

Early in the morning one device, attached to a bunch of balloons, was found in an open area. A couple of hours later, a similar balloon-borne package was found in an agricultural area and was found to contain explosives, officials said.

The incidents came amid rising tensions and clashes along the Israel-Gaza border.

In recent days, Gazans have launched balloon-borne bombs at Israel and fired small arms across the border, along with near-daily protests at the fence, in which fire bombs have been thrown at troops and Palestinians have attempted to damage the barriers, according to the army.

Israel has carried out perfunctory air raids after each balloon or mortar attack, usually hitting empty military posts maintained by the Hamas terror group, which is the de facto ruler in the Strip.

On Sunday Israeli jets hit Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip after a mortar shell was fired into Israel the day before.

Later in the day Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks coming from Gaza and that, if provoked, the Jewish state would not hesitate to launch a broad military campaign just because the country was in the run up to April 9 national elections.

The past week has seen a marked uptick in cross-border fighting, including nightly riots along the border fence. There have been no injuries from the attacks from Gaza. On Thursday, the Hamas-run health ministry in the Strip said a teen was killed by Israeli fire in border clashes the night before.

The increase in violence comes after several months of relative calm thanks to a hard-won ceasefire brokered by Egypt. Egypt and other mediators have been working intensively in recent weeks to broker a new ceasefire agreement between the two sides, but thus far to no avail.

Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority in 2007.

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